​​​​​963 W. Route 66 Suite 230 Flagstaff Arizona 86001

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The Veterinarians at Westside would like to thank you for your continued support of the Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center of Northern Arizona, open weekends, 
Friday 5:00 pm through Monday 8:30 am, and major holidays.

December: Holiday Safety Tips

Monthly Newsletter




Happy Holidays from Westside Veterinary Clinic!

There’s nothing more enjoyable than gathering with friends and family for the holidays, but many of the ingredients in human fun can result in distress for pets. As we kick off this season of lights, parties, and yummy treats, we want to remind pet parents of the potential hazards certain goodies and décor can pose to our furry friends.  In honor of the joyous season to come, ASPCA poison control experts offer these essential tips for having pets at the party in a safe way.

Avoid Too Much of a Good Thing
While the holidays are a time for giving, there are some foods you should not share with your furry friends. A taste of mashed potato or a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. However, alcoholic beverages, coffee, onions, fatty foods, yeast, dough, and macadamia nuts can all lead to stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse—an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. A special no-no is chocolate, which if ingested can lead to death. And you may want to skip sharing the turkey—poultry bones can splinter and cause blockages.  If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.

Put the Medications Away
One of the most common holiday-related emergencies is the consumption of human pharmaceuticals. Make sure all your medications are securely locked away, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away also.

That Holiday Glow
Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candleholders, placed on a stable surface. If you leave the room, put the candle out!

Oh, Christmas Tree
Cats often see trees as fabulous climbing posts. Be sure to securely anchor your tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. Also keep in mind that tree water may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset if ingested. Stagnant tree water can also act as a breeding ground for bacteria, and, if ingested, a pet may suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Decorations Can Be Dangerous
Holiday decorations such as breakable ornaments, string, ribbon and dreidels should be kept out of paws’ reach. These traditional decorations can cause choking or severe intestinal problems if swallowed. All holiday light strands, loose wires and electric cords can also pose serious dangers to your pet, especially puppies, who may chew on them.

Go Tinsel-less
Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.

Forgo the Flowers
Be careful with holiday floral arrangements. Lilies are commonly used this time of year and all varieties, including Tiger, Asian, Japanese Show, Stargazer and Casa Blanca can cause kidney failure in cats. In addition, common Yuletide plants such as mistletoe and holly berries can be potentially toxic to pets. Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. Safe alternatives include artificial flowers made from silk or plastic.

 New Year’s Noise
As you count down to the New Year, be alert to any pet hazards such as noise-makers and confetti. Noise-makers can frighten your pets, causing them to bolt out an open door or window. Confetti, if ingested, can wreak havoc on the digestive tract.