Holiday Precautions for Pets

The Seneca Animal Hospital family wishes you and your family a happy, healthy, prosperous and safe holiday season! Lots of preparation goes into any holiday extravaganza. With the long list includes a wide assortment of potentially new and intriguing items to your pets. In an effort to help you enjoy more time with your family and less time with us this Christmas and New Year’s, we have compiled a list of common and some uncommon items to take precautions around. Avoiding these potential hazards will result in many happy holidays with your pet!

Foods & Beverages

  • Alcoholic Beverages – can cause lack of coordination, low body temperature, and respiratory depression
  • Chocolate – (Baking is more toxic than dark which is more toxic than milk chocolate)- contains methylxanthines: Less than 2 oz milk choc/kg body weight can cause clinical signs (http://www.vin.com/mainpub/xmas/default.asp) which include excitement/hyperactivity progressing to delirium, seizures, and convulsions.
  • Fatty Foods – high fat foods can cause pancreatitis in pets which leads to vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
  • Christmas Tree Water – may contain extenders and fertilizer which can cause oral and stomach irritation. The stagnant water can also contain bacteria which may cause vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.
  • Onions, Onion Powder, and Garlic – all can cause vomiting, liver damage, and anemia (low red blood cells)
  • Moldy and Spoiled Foods – can contain mycotoxins and bacteria.


  • Lilies – most Lilly types cause renal failure in cats when ingested.
  • Mistletoe – mostly causes GI upsets (vomiting and diarrhea) but large quantities can cause cardiovascular problems.
  • Holly – ingestion leads to vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and lethargy
  • Poinsettias – toxic ingestion may lead to irritation of the mouth, esophagus, and stomach, and cause mild vomiting and diarrhea; potential neurological effects.

Other Considerations

  • Ribbons or Tinsels – may look like a fun toy to Christmas Pet Hazardyour dog or cat but can cause intestinal obstruction.
  • Glass Ornaments – can cut tissues of the gastrointestinal tract if ingested (Interestingly, some snow globes contain ethylene glycol (antifreeze) and four teaspoons of antifreeze is dangerous to a 10 pound dog).
  • Liquid Potpourris – These can be very irritating with gastrointestinal exposure and also exposure to the skin or eyes.
  • Antifreeze – small amounts can be lethal, three phases: acute is within 12 hours and includes ataxia, depression and labored breathing, intermediate is from 12-24 hours with nondescript signs that appear patient is improving, and finally end stage from 24-72 hours with severe depression, anorexia, and vomiting.
  • Batteries – corrosive acid can cause ulceration throughout the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Snow & Ice Melters – depends on product but signs include excessive salivation, depression, vomiting, and electrolyte abnormalities.
  • Electric Cords – the electricity will cause an electric shock and likely electrocute.

Please remember to keep all prescription and over-the-counter medications safely away from pets. Many human drugs are potentially lethal, even in small doses.

  • One (1) regular-strength ibuprofen tablet (200mg) can cause stomach ulcers in a 10-pound dog and less than one (<1) regular strength acetaminophen tablet (325mg) can be dangerous to a cat weighing 7lbs (http://www.vin.com/mainpub/xmas/default.asp)

If any exposure or potential exposures occur, the ASPCA poison control hotline may be reached 24 hours a day at 1-888-4-ANI-HELP (1-888-426-4435) or through the webpage http://www.aspcapro.org/poison.

From all of us here at Seneca Animal Hospital,
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Urgent Notice Regarding Covid-19

Effective immediately Seneca Animal Hospital is instituting recommendations from the CDC and DHEC to help protect our clients and our staff from the COVID-19.

We have closed our lobbies and are asking clients to please wait in their cars until a staff member escorts you to an exam room.

Learn More