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Holiday Hazards

December has been labeled the official “Safe Toys and Gifts Month” for all the members of your family – kids and pets especially!  Regardless of whether you celebrate Hanukah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa this month, the consumers in us will spend time and money buying gifts for our loved ones, whether they have 2 feet or 4. Often times, we can get so caught up in gift buying and giving that we don’t stop to consider if the gifts we’re purchasing are safe for the loved ones they are intended for.  Many of the guidelines for purchasing safe toys for children can carry over to our pets as well.  Some simple guidelines below can help keep any member of your family safe this holiday season…

• When selecting toys, look for quality design and construction, and follow recommendations on labels that deal with what kind of child or pet the item is considered safe for.

• Avoid purchasing toys or gifts containing small parts.  For young children (specifically under 3) and any type of pet (at any age), small toys and parts may present a choking hazard.  Small parts testers can be purchased at toy or baby specialty stores.  

• Avoid toys with sharp points or edges and toys that produce loud noises.  

• Avoid toys with strings, straps or cords.  For children, anything longer than 7 inches may pose a risk for strangulation.  For pets, any length can pose a hazard if the item gets ingested.

While many of us consider our pets to be part of our family, and even possibly our children, we urge you to remember that toys and treats for people are not safe or healthy for pets.  When you want to spoil your 4-legged loved ones this season, buy items appropriate for their breed, age, and activity level.  Also understand that even items marketed as “safe” for your pet may pose a problem if your pet does not follow the rules recommended for the item they receive.  Even an “indestructible” toy can be chewed up and eaten by a pet if not properly supervised.  

If you have any questions on toys and gifts that are safe and appropriate for any of your pets, please don’t hesitate to call us.  Part of our job at Kittel Family Veterinary Practice is making sure that we remain “Good for the pet, good for the family.”  Our staff wishes your family, pets included, and safe and happy holiday season!  

Common Hazardous Holiday Agents for Dogs and Cats

  • Christmas Cactus
  • Christmas Tree Water
  • Chocolate
  • Christmas lights
  • Glass Ornaments
  • Mistletoe
  • Poinsettias
  • Wrapping ribbons

  Common Hazardous Foods and Toxins 

  • Alcoholic products
  • Coffee
  • Candy or mints containing xylitol
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Milk
  • Mustard seeds
  • Onions and onion powder
  • Pistachios
  • Poultry bones
  • Raisins
  • Fruit seeds or pits
  • Yeast dough
  • Antifreeze
  • Rodenticides (rat poison)
  • Human medications and pain killers

Hazardous Plants and Materials for Rabbits

Certain plants and plant products can be quite hazardous to the health of your rabbit.  Please review the following list of toxic plants to keep out of your home to protect your rabbit’s health. 

  • Agave (leaves)
  • Amaryllis (bulbs)
  • Apple (seeds)
  • Azalea
  • Bird of Paradise (seeds)
  • Bloodroot
  • Buttercup (leaves)
  • Boxwood (leaves/twigs)
  • Buckthorn (berries)
  • Caladium
  • Calla (rhizome)
  • Castor Bean (seed)
  • Christmas Rose
  • Cone Flower
  • Crown of Thorns
  • Daffodil
  • Daphne
  • Delphinium
  • Dumbcane (Dieffenbachia)
  • Eggplant (plant)
  • Elderberry (unripe berries)
  • Elephant Ear
  • Flowering Tobacco
  • Foxglove
  • Holly (berries)
  • Hyacinth
  • Iris
  • Ivy, Boston & English (berries)
  • Jerusalem Cherry
  • Jimson Weed
  • Larkspur
  • Lily-of-the-Valley
  • Lupine
  • Mayapple
  • Mistletoe (berries)
  • Morning Glory (seeds)
  • Mustard (root)
  • Narcissus
  • Nicotiana
  • Nightshade
  • Oleander
  • Philodendron
  • Poison Ivy
  • Potato (green)
  • Ranunculus
  • Rhododendron
  • Rhubarb (leaf blade)
  • Rosary Pea (seed)
  • Sweet Pea (seeds)
  • Sweet Potato
  • Tansy
  • Tomato (leaves)
  • Tulip
  • Virginia Creeper (berries)
  • Water Hemlock
  • Wisteria (seeds/pods)
  • Yew (berries)
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