There is usually lots of chocolate and other things around the house that are bad for our pets and it�s important to keep them away from these items.

Chocolate: the substance that is harmful in the chocolate is called theobromine. This is a naturally occurring alkaloid that is found in the cocoa bean and it can cause vomiting and restlessness in pets. The chocolate acts like a stimulant and cause increased heart rate, irregular hart beat and may cause seizures. Smaller doses of chocolate can trigger vomiting and diarrhoea and these symptoms could lead to dehydration if they are not treated immediately. Large doses can also be fatal!

To determine what a lethal dose of theobromine is would depend on the size of the animal and the type of chocolate. Baking chocolate is the most lethal as it contains six to nine times as much theobromine as milk chocolate.

In the event your dog does get into the Christmas chocolates, call your veterinarian. Try to determine the amount and type of chocolate the animal has ingested in order to help the doctor in assessing the situation and to form an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Make sure your children understand that feeding chocolate to your pet will make him sick.

Chocolate is also toxic to cats however, overall, they tend not to have a sweet tooth. Nevertheless, cat owners should still keep the chocolates out of the way of kitty.

And chocolate is not the only danger during the holiday season.

Check List
Poinsettia: Dogs and cats alike find plants irresistible. Some dogs may be able to ingest an entire poinsettia plant with no ill effects, veterinarian toxicologists have reported seeing animals with stomach or mouth irritation from a small amount of the plant.

Mistletoe: This plant is even more toxic than the poinsettia (particularly the berries). Other plants that you might have around your house during the holidays that are also dangerous to animals are: Christmas rose, English holly, Jerusalem cherry and Amaryllis

Tinsel: This decoration has proven to be one of the most lethal for cats. Cats go crazy for tinsel (why not, it shines, moves with the slightest breeze and hangs down tantalisingly from the boughs of the Christmas tree). Ingested tinsel can get tangled in the cat�s intestines and most cats then need surgery in order to save their lives.

Turkey: Animals cannot digest turkey as well as humans and the bones should not be offered to your pet either, as poultry bones are especially dangerous as they can splinter easily and become lodged in the pet�s throat or perforate it’s intestinal tract. You’ll just have to look the other way when those big pleading eyes stare at you from under the Christmas table. Any rich holiday foods that are high in fat are bad for your pet and can cause gastrointestinal problems.

The Christmas Tree: Dogs and cats alike love to eat not only the tinsel but small ornaments and these can cause blockage or perforation of the intestinal tract. If your puppy chews, make sure he can�t get to the electrical cords.

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