Top 5 Holiday Pet Toxins

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Top 5 Holiday Pet Toxins

Christmas is a particularly busy time of year at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, and the five items below account for the majority of holiday calls. Be sure to download our top toxins poster and place it in your office or share on social media to help warn pet owners!

In order, the top holiday toxins are:

  1. Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate

This tasty treat is hands-down the winner for most calls at Christmas (Halloween and Valentine’s Day don’t even come close). Why? Usually it’s because of wrapped chocolate gifts left under the tree. And often a pet has shredded wrapping paper to get to the treat, thus destroying the chance to learn exactly what ingredients have been ingested. Also, with the growing popularity of higher cocoa content, it takes even less candy to get our four-legged friends into a world of trouble. To test your treatment strategy, check out how to treat chocolate ingestion.

  1. Tree Preservatives

What is generally seen is mild gastrointestinal upset. However, if there is bacterial contamination, the potential for gastrointestinal upset can be more significant. Treatment plan? Dilute, monitor at home and move on. Read about some more holiday ingestion worries.

  1. Poinsettias

Poinsettias are primarily mucous-membrane irritants – and despite the worry they cause pet owners, the plants aren’t usually too dangerous if treated properly.

  1. Medications

Guests. Winter colds. Kids home from school. This trifecta of medication dangers calls for caution. Add the fact that worried pet owners generally can’t remember how much medicine was actually in that little baggie that the pup ate, and you can just feel a headache coming on. Any and all medications need to be stored up high or in a locked cabinet.

  1. Alcohol

Eggnog and other holiday drinks are readily available during the holiday season and can be attractive-and dangerous-to pets. The good news: Pets usually vomit alcohol after ingestion. The bad news: Alcohol is absorbed quickly.


At All God’s Creatures Animal hospital, our goal is to continuously improve the quality of life of our patients and the well-being of our community by providing high quality, cost effective veterinary health care that exceeds our clients’ expectations.  Our staff is devoted to providing the best medical, surgical, and emergency veterinary care available.