Hôpital Vétérinaire de L'Île-Perrot Inc.



December 1, 2018


Wilson, Christmas Pointer
Wilson the Christmas Pointer

The holidays can be a wonderful and exciting time, but often involve a lot of preparation, lists, errands, invitations and receiving of guests. Not a good time for an unexpected incident. Here are a few suggestions to help avoid an unforeseen trip to the emergency department during the holiday season with your pet.

It is important to inform your guests of any rules you have with regards to your pets.

  • Avoid offering table scraps, fatty foods, and foods rich in sodium or sugar. Basically, any food that is not part of the usual routine of your dog or cat should be avoided, since they can cause indigestion, gastro-enteritis, or even pancreatitis. Your pet could experience digestive discomfort, lethargy, a loss of appetite, vomiting and/or diarrhea. Some severe cases require hospitalization for dehydration. It is therefore best to avoid offering tourtière or plum pudding to your dog, despite his soulful eyes!
  • Never offer the bones from a turkey or chicken to your pet. These can cause obstructions in the mouth, esophagus or intestine and can damage the mucus membranes of the digestive tract and even cause perforations.
  • ChocolatChocolate is toxic for cats and dogs when ingested in large quantities. The active ingredient contained in cocoa is called Theobromine. The level of toxicity depends on the type of chocolate (dark chocolate contains more of this substance than milk chocolate) and the weight and size of the pet. If your dog eats a significant amount of chocolate in any form, it is best to call a veterinarian immediately. Symptoms of toxicity include agitation, vomiting, diarrhea, trembling or convulsions, and can be fatal if left untreated.
  • Xylitol is a sweetening agent  that is found in many sweet productsTrident such as sugar-free gum, candies, baked goods and some peanut butter. This compound can cause severe hypoglycemia in dogs (a harmful drop in blood sugar) and is toxic to their  liver.
  • Fresh grapes and raisins are toxic to the kidneys of some dogs. Since toxicity from grapes can be potentially fatal, it is best to avoid them completely.
  • Macadamia nuts are also toxic.  The level of toxicity varies from animal to animal, so any ingestion of macadamia nuts requires an intervention.
  • Avocados are highly toxic for birds and can cause diarrhea and vomiting in dogs and cats.
  • Oignons confitsAvoid caramelized onions! Onions and their relatives, in any form, are toxic for animals and can cause anemia by destroying red blood cells.
  • Alcohol :  Companion animals are much more sensitive to the effects of alcohol than humans. A very small amount can cause signs of toxicity. Dogs can be attracted to alcoholic beverages, so it is important to keep them out of reach. Be aware that some desserts can also contain alcohol.


Beware of Christmas decorations!

Artificial icicles and snow, garlands and other types of decorations are particularly attractive to kittens and puppies. Small objects (characters in a nativity scene or tree decorations, for example) can be swallowed accidentally and can create an obstruction in the digestive tract. Symptoms to look for are vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness and occasionally soft stools and may require emergency surgery.


Decorative lights and extension cords can cause electrocution if they are chewed.

Place ornaments as high as possible in the tree to avoid tempting felines. Breakable glass ornaments should be avoided since they can cause injuries to paws. It is also important that the tree itself is secure, since it is not unusual for cats and kittens to climb the tree and risk tipping it over.

Ribbons and bows are pretty, but may present a hazard if ingested, particularly by kittens and cats.


Prevent intoxications

If you plan to visit relatives and friends with your pet, make sure there is no rat poison (rodenticide), ant traps, or other insecticides at the home that is hosting you.

poinsettiaCertain decorative plants can be toxic. The most common types at this time of year are Poinsettia, mistletoe, holly, and the Jerusalem cherry tree. Whether it is the bark, the leaves or the berries, ingestion of these can cause renal insufficiency, lack of coordination, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, or even death. In case of doubt, consult the website www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control.



    • In case of ingestion of a toxic substance call us immediately at 514-453-3406.
    • If we are closed: DMV Veterinary Center  open 24 hours : 514-633-8888
    • ASPCA Poison Center : 1-888-426-4435 open 24 hours, 365 days/year. A telephone consultation fee will be required with a credit card.


Prevent dietary indiscretion

Place hors d’oeuvres and snacks on tables out of the reach of your pets.

Deal with leftovers from the table quickly and place garbage bags in a zone that is inaccessible to your pet before he has a chance to treat them as his own personal lunch box!

If your pet has a tendency to steal food off counters and tables or likes to beg at the table, perhaps it would be best to restrict him to a room of his own until the meal is over.

Plan ahead for a reserve of pet food. Vet clinics and pet food stores are often closed or have limited hours during the holidays. If you are running out of food, a sudden change of diet can cause undesirable digestive problems.

Braque fugueur
Wilson the Christmas Runaway


Counter their escape plan!

Close doors firmly and make sure your pet is wearing a collar with clear identification. Unfortunately, escapes are common during the holidays. Noise, loud music, crowded houses, and frequent comings and goings of guests can be stressful for our pets and may cause a desire to escape the excitement. If your pet is an anxious type, it may be preferable to confine him to a quiet, isolated room where he will be secure and calm.


Plan ahead for boarding

The holidays sometimes involve travel. Consideration must be made for your companion animals if you intend to board them while you are away. It is therefore important to have their vaccinations up-to-date. Inform yourself ahead of time about what vaccinations are needed. Most kennels require the kennel cough vaccine (Bordetella bronchiseptica) as well as the base vaccines. The intra-nasal Bordetella vaccine is effective within a few days of administration, whereas the injectable form must be administered at least a month before the boarding date and requires a booster if it is the first time the dog has received the vaccine.

If your pet takes medication, make a list and schedule of administration of any medications for the boarding establishment. Include contact numbers in case of an emergency. It is wise to discuss your budget for emergency care with the guardian ahead of time should vet care be needed while you are away.

If you are travelling by plane, verify the requirements of the airline company and the country you are going to visit. Certain parasite preventions may need to be considered for countries in warmer climates.

We invite you to consult our section on Travel With Your Pet or Choose a Kennel? on our website for more information on this subject.


Angel,Christmas model
Angel, Christmas model



The team at Hôpital Vétérinaire de L’Île-Perrot

would like to wish you and your family

a very happy holidays!

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