Christmas time is a great time of year for many of us – it is a time when families reconnect, there are lots of holiday parties, good food, etc. However, it can also be a busy time in the animal hospital! In my personal experience, working the Christmas holidays can be a busy one. From my 14 years in emergency medicine, my top 5 reasons for a visit the veterinarian during the holidays are:
- Christmas dinner: intentional or not, keep the treats to a minimum and keep the food out of reach. I have seen dogs with mild symptoms to more severe conditions like “bloat”, pancreatitis, severe bloody diarrhea, etc. due to sharing some “people food”. Also remember that the sugar substitute Xylitol can be very dangerous to dogs. Its use in baked goods is more and
- Chocolate: smaller dogs are more at risk simply due to their size. It takes a lot more chocolate for a lab to show symptoms than a toy poodle. Included in chocolate would be chocolate covered raisins and macadamia nuts, both of which are toxic on their own.
- Foreign object ingestions: Christmas light, toys, socks, ribbon ,turkey and ham bones
- Trauma: Pets getting out of the house and being hit by cars, fights between family pets, burns due to candles and electric cords
- Plants: poinsettias, mistletoe, Amaryllis, and the Christmas tree itself. One of my most memorable emergencies was a young lab who decided to destroy the tree while the owners’ were at a holiday party. The dog required surgery to remove over 3 pounds of pine needles!