Holiday Hazards To Watch For: Protect Your Dogs! A Guest Blog by Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Hospital


It’s a wonderful time of year, full of fun, festive decorations, family and your canine family members as well! But this can also be a dangerous time of year for dogs. While it is an urban myth that Poinsettia are the most dangerous holiday item for dogs, there are actually many more toxic holiday hazards you need to watch for. The emergency veterinarians at VRCC Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Hospital ( share with us one case and then the top things for you to keep an eye on in your holiday home.




Nicholas is a Bernese Mountain dog and you see his two x-rays after ending up in the E.R. at VRCC.  He ate about 15 feet of Christmas garland, which you can see on the x-ray in the light area under the ribs and to the right of the spine.  The garland was removed using an endoscope, snaking the scope down the mouth and esophagus so the garland could be grasped with a special tool and removed from the stomach. Nicholas was uncomfortable for a few days while his esophagus and stomach healed up, but he recovered and is doing fine.


Other holiday hazards for dogs include:


  • Spray on snow/flocking, foil, plastic wrap/shrink-wrap, Styrofoam peanuts.
  • XMAS Tree Food/Preservatives: If you are using a real tree in a plant stand, cut off access to the stand with a heavy tree skirt. Veterinarians at VRCC say sugar-based tree preservatives and tree food/water can harbor dangerous bacteria and a thirsty dog may decide to use the tree stand as a drinking bowl.
  • Batteries: It may be great to have batteries for that new, cool toy but chewing or swallowing batteries is extremely toxic. Acid burns from chewing and causing a leak in the battery are common as well as cuts from the metal casing.
  • Potpourri: The spicy smell can fill the house with a wonderful scent, but dogs can experience irritation and corrosion of the eyes, mouth, throat and esophagus if exposed to the liquid form.

Hopefully, these valuable emergency room tips from VRCC will help keep you and your entire family safe and happy this holiday season.



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12 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thanks for the great tips, Dakota!!

    I hope my mom will make sure everything is away from me as you know how inquisitive I can be, but I’m just being curious, you know. You are so lucky to have a mom who is clever and more careful than my mom. She always needs reminders, sigh!!!


    • Hi Eva!

      You just think that my mom is more “clever” than yours! Nooooooo it is just that she is obsessive compulsvie and worries about everything!

      Your Mom is right on track with what is good for you! She ALWAYS knows what is best for you!!

      I am “curious” too, Mom calls it “stubborn” and she says I am a “thief” She says I will eat anything that falls onto the floor…ANYTHING.

      I guess she is right! Barks and licks and love, Dakota

  2. Good tips on keeping our babies safe!

    • thanks Sara! They did a great job!

  3. Mommy sez don’t forget mistletoe too! It’s toxic to animals! Great story – thanks for posting!

    • Hi Ryker!! You couldn’t be more correct! Mistletoe is hugely poisonous!!! Thank you for the reminder! Barks and licks and love, Dakota

  4. Great advice Dakota,

    Last year, my first Christmas I was actually really good and didn’t touch anything on the Tree – Mum’s hoping for a repeat performance this year – we’ll see!! Tee Hee

    Have a fun day buddy,

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂

    • Snoopy you are too good to be true! You didn’t touch anything on the tree???????? Amazing!!!

      Hope you had a great day!

      Barks and licks and love, Dakota

  5. It is Cinnamon’s first Christmas! But since our Mommy and Daddy has had cats and dogs for zillions of years, they knows the drills. Hissy old Licorice used to climb the tree every year, and wes used to tie it to the ceiling. Me wonders if Kozmo will carry on the tradition.
    Thanks for all the good reminders

    • Nellie I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if Kozmo continues that tradition! Can’t wait to see what Cinnamon thinks of all of it too!

      Barks and licks and love, Dakota

  6. OH Dog! I thought the poinsettia were poisonous! I’m glad to know they aren’t.

    • What?????????!!!!!!!!! Rumpy!!! Oh YES THEY ARE!! For cats at least they are INCREDIBLY POISONOUS!!!

      Not sure about dogs but they are for cats!
      I wouldn’t even bring one into the house.

      Barks and licks and love, Dakota

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