Protect your pet during the holidays

By Carolyn Hauck

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The lights, the tree, the candles, the decorations - all exciting visuals representing the holidays that have presented themselves once again. This exciting time of year presents us with parties, baking, decorating and endless festivities. While anyone from babies to the elderly are delighting by the family and fun, we need to take extra precaution to ensure our pets are safe and well looked after. We reached out to a few Veterinarians on JustAnswer to learn more about the most common issues they see during the holidays.


Dr. P mentioned that dogs ingesting uncooked yeast dough is the issue she sees arise most often during the holidays. The yeast in the bread can cause really bad stomach aches and could even cause neurological issues. She recommends that if your pet ingests raw yeast dough that you stop feeding food to your pet. Water in small amounts would be okay to ensure proper hydration. Keep your pet moving with walks or low level play to keep the GI tract moving. It is important to keep monitoring them as sick animals will instinctively start eating other weird things. Typically it will take more than 24 hours for the bread dough to move through the entire GI tract. If there are signs of vomiting or extreme bloat you should take your pet into the vet. There could be a larger obstruction that is unable to pass through the bowels. Note that this is only an issue for doughs that contain yeast. Things like pie crust or standard cookie dough should not be an issue since there isn’t a rising agent.


Dr. Drew says he sees lots of ornament ingestion cases which is unsurprising since ornaments can easily be mistaken for dog toys to their size, bright colors and noises. The biggest concern in these situations is the wire or hooks that might have been consumed as they could puncture or lacerate the lining of the intestines. He warns that while some pets who eat foreign materials may pass them without complication, many require surgery for removal. Delay of treatment could cause permanent intestinal damage or worse. If you think your pet has ingested an ornament, he recommends you take them to see a vet immediately so an x-ray can be performed.


If you are hosting an event or bringing your animal to someone else’s home be aware of access to potentially harmful human foods. Holiday staples like grapes, raisins, chocolate, candy, onions, garlic and even macadamia nuts can cause serious problems for pets. Keep things like mistletoe, holly, planted and cut flowers high out of animal reach as they are also toxic when ingested.


Preventive measures and awareness ensure you have a happy and healthy holiday season. If you have additional questions about pet safety around the holidays, Vets on JustAnswer are available 24/7. Ask a Vet Now >