Toxin Ingestion

While there is always the possibility that your pet could ingest a harmful chemical, holidays tend to be the time of year where most accidental toxin ingestions occur. 

If you suspect your pet has ingested a toxin, a plant or other substance a pet should not usually ingest, please call the Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435.  They will advise on the action you and the veterinarian should take to keep your pet healthy.  Please be advised that there is a $65 consultation fee for this service, so please have a credit card ready. This fee also covers any follow up calls that the veterinarian may make to successfully treat your pet.

For a full list of hazardous plants, household products, etc., please visit the ASPCA Poison Control website.  You can also download the APCC Mobile App from this link:

Holiday Hazards:

  • O, ChristmasTree!
    • Water at the base of a live tree contains secretions and sap that can cause tummy aches!!
    • Tree branches are VERY tempting to kitties! A kitty climbing a Christmas tree can cause the entire thing to fall down on top of him/her!
    • Ornaments can be sharp when broken and cause serious G.I. irritation and pieces can become stuck in the stomach or intestines and require surgical removal!
    • Electric cords!! Need we say more? Be VERY careful, especially with curious kitties!!
    • Tinsel/Ribbons/Strings/other decorations: if ingested, tinsel and ribbons/strings can create what is called “linear foreign bodies” and catch in the intestinal tract. The intestines then bunch up as the body tries its best to get the tinsel or ribbon/string to move through. This is LIFE-THREATENING  and requires surgical intervention!!
    • Confetti, Styrofoam and balloons (especially deflated balloons) can also wreak havoc on the GI tract! 
  • Plants
    • Lillies can be deadly to kitties! They can cause kidney failure.
    • Poinsettias can be irritating to the mouth and stomach and possibly cause vomiting and diarrhea but their toxicity is a bit overrated
    • Mistletoe can cause cardiovascular problems, but ingestion typically leads to upset tummies
    • Holly can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and lethargy if ingested
  • Holiday Foods Pets Should Avoid!
    • Alcoholic beverages!!
    • Chocolate-especially baker’s chocolate! Even milk chocolate can cause tummy upset. Signs of chocolate poisoning are: nervousness, hyper-excitability, vomiting, diarrhea, death
      • Keep all candies out of reach!
    • Coffee, including grounds, beans and chocolate-covered espresso beans
    • Moldy/spoiled foods
    • Onions and onion powders
    • Fatty foods- fatty foods that your pet’s stomach isn’t used to can cause inflammation of the pancreas, which requires prompt hospitalization and a few days of I.V. fluid therapy
      • Poultry skin is very high in fat!
    • Absolutely NO bones! Poultry bones are hollow and splinter very easily. The shards can cause a LOT of damage to a cat or dog’s intestinal tract and can become even become lodged and disrupt/block the regular flow of the GI tract
  • Other Hazards
    • Potpourris-liquids can spill, and pets can ingest them while grooming. Exposure can lead to oral, dermal and ocular damage. Dry potpourri can cause irritation or obstruction of the GI tract.
    • Medications-No doubt, you’ll have visitors this year; remind them to keep all of their medications in a safe place that pets can’t reach!!
    • Antifreeze-unfortunately, most antifreeze is very tasty to pets! 1 teaspoon can kill a cat, and less than 4 teaspoons can be very dangerous to a 10-pound dog!
      • Check your garages and driveways daily to make sure there are no open containers or puddles of antifreeze!
      • Call us immediately if you think your pet has ingested antifreeze!
    • Ice-Melting Products-Can be irritating to a pet’s mouth and skin. Signs of ingestion/exposure can include: excessive drooling, vomiting, depression and electrolyte imbalances
    • Rat/Mouse Bait-Another hazard that can be very yummy to pets! They can be quite toxic to dogs and cats, so please keep them out of your pets’ reach and call us immediately if you think your pet has consumed any (be sure to have the package nearby)!
    • Batteries-can cause GI tract obstruction and corrosive injuries to a pet’s mouth and intestinal tract


8301 Seminole Trail, Ruckersville, VA. 22968

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