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As the holidays approach, we all need to be aware that many holiday decorations and foods can pose a risk to our pets.  If you ever suspect that your pet may have eaten or been exposed to something toxic, please call our office or one of the emergency clinics for further instructions.

Antifreeze  Antifreeze can be fatal to dogs and cats if ingested - even at the smallest doses.  Be aware that not only is this chemical commonly used in your cars, but it is often put in the pipes and toilets when winterizing a home.

Chocolate  Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine that can cause stimulation of the central nervous system, an increased heart rate and tremors.  Cocoa beans and baking chocolate have the highest amounts of these stimulants and white chocolate the least.  Clinical symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures and increased drinking and urination.  Poisoning can also occur if your pet ingests cocoa bean mulch that is used in gardens to help deter snails and slugs.

Macadamia Nuts If ingested by a dog, macadamia nuts can cause muscular weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors, abdominal pain and muscle stiffness.

Christmas Decorating Hazards Holiday plants such as holly, mistletoe, lilies and poinsettias can cause vomiting and diarrhea if eaten.  Some of these plants can even cause kidney failure or heart issues.  Ribbons and tinsel can cause obstuctions in your pets' intestines if eaten.  Avoid animal exposure to electrical cords by covering or hiding them.

Xylitol Xylitol is a sugar substitute found in many sugar-free gums and candies.  It can be very dangerous in dogs because it causes a fatal drop in blood sugar, as well as hepatitis.  Clinical signs include vomiting, lethargy and incoordination, collapse, seizures and death if not treated.

Grapes and Raisins Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs, so make sure they're not left where your dog can help himself, like in a bowl on a coffee table.

Ice Melt Pets may be exposed to ice melts that have been spilled, applied to sidewalks, or improperly stored.  Ingestion can result in vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, tremors/seizures and death.