Serious Thanksgiving Food Risks For Your Pets

Dog eyeing turkey leg

Dog eyeing turkey leg


We all look forward to the holiday season as a time of family, friends, food, and fun. Unfortunately, though, Thanksgiving is also a time where we see a dramatic increase in the number of pet emergencies.

Be sure to be aware of potential Thanksgiving food risks and keep your pet safe this holiday season.

Pancreatitis in Pets

Just as for people, overindulgence in rich, fatty foods can upset the digestive system, resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, or both. Sometimes, though, when pets indulge too much the result is something more serious than just a tummy ache. Continue…

Xylitol: A Hidden Holiday Danger for Pets

Can you spot the Xylitol in this photo?
…Neither can your pet.

What do the fruitcake you made for your diabetic great-aunt Betty, the pack of gum in your stocking, and the plate of holiday cookies that your neighbor dropped off have in common? All of them may contain the artificial sweetener Xylitol, a dangerous and deadly substance for dogs. Xylitol is becoming more and more commonly utilized, which makes it important for pet owners to be on the defense.

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a sugar substitute that is found in items such as sugar-free gum, baked goods, and oral hygiene products. In people it is absorbed very slowly so there are no ill effects. In dogs, however, the substance is absorbed within 30 minutes, causing the body to release a large rush of insulin. This results in a life-threatening drop in blood sugar. Besides this, Xylitol can also have severe effects on the liver. Continue…

Have a Happy, Safe Holiday Season!

Oakland Veterinary Referral Service wishes you and your furry family a very happy, and above all safe, holiday season this year!  Don’t forget the following during your festivities this year:

  • Dangerous objects

Christmas trees, holiday decorations, and wrapped gifts can all be dangerous items that your pet is not used to having around.  Keep decorations and candles out of the reach of playful paws and wagging tails.  Decorative ribbons, string, and tinsel should also be kept away from pets.  Electrical cords can pose a danger as pets may chew on them or become tangled in them.  Before bringing any plants into your home, be sure to check the ASPCA’s list of toxic plants to avoid problems.

  • Hazardous treats

Food and goodies of all kinds abound this time of year!  Beware of treats containing chocolate, raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, and the artificial sweetener xylitol.  Table scraps, particularly those that are fatty or rich, can cause stomach upset ranging from mild vomiting or diarrhea to severe pancreatitis.  Don’t forget about alcohol, either.  That punch or eggnog might be irresistible to your pet, but can cause serious problems upon ingestion.

  • Scary situations

Pets don’t always take to the holidays like humans do.  A houseful of noisy strangers can be a disturbing event for shyer animals.  Make sure that they have a quiet, safe place to “hide” away from the hub-bub.  It is also a good idea to make sure that all pets are wearing identification and/or are micro-chipped with your current contact information in case they slip out the door with Uncle Bob.

No Bones About It This Holiday Season

Holidays and family gatherings tend to make you want to share the bounty with your pet but leftover turkey bones and other scrap bones can pose a risk for pets. pet emergenciesHere are a few reasons that may not be the best idea:

Physical injury

Sharp fragments can cause injury to the mouth and/or tongue that require a visit to the veterinarian. It is also not uncommon for pets to get a bone looped around the lower jaw, which is frightening and can require sedation to remove.

Broken teeth

Bones are hard! Broken teeth are a serious problem and can require expensive dental procedures to correct or remove.


There are oh-so-many places bones or bone fragments can become lodged on the way down including the esophagus, windpipe, stomach, or intestines. Even pieces of bone that are not stuck can lead to constipation due to their hard, sharp nature.


Pieces of bone can perforate through the digestive tract, leading to leakage of the contents into the body cavities. This can lead to a serious condition called peritonitis. Peritonitis can lead to severe illness and even death.

Food poisoning

Dogs and cats are just as susceptible to threats like E.coli and Salmonella as people. Particularly if your pet helps itself to a treat out of the trash, these organisms can cause problems.

Be safe and happy

Before offering a bone to your pet this holiday season, think about the potential consequences. Also be sure to dispose of your table scraps in a manner not accessible to your animals. Enjoy a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Top Ten Pet Dangers on the 4th of July

Happy birthday America!  The 4th of July is an exciting holiday, but it can be riddled with dangers for our furry friends.  Some of them are more obvious than others.  Make sure that you know the big ones to help your pets steer clear of any holiday mishaps.

  1.  Fireworks – This one is kind of a no-brainer.  After all, lighting fireworks can be dangerous for people, too.  Did you realize that even unlit fireworks pose a danger to your pet?  Ingestion can be toxic.  Help you pet avoid burns, trauma, and even death by just keeping them indoors.
  2. People food – Many favorite picnic and party foods contain ingredients such as chocolate or grapes that can be deadly.  Even overdoing it with treats or fatty foods can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, or more serious conditions such as pancreatitis.
  3. The heat – Pets should stay indoors when possible and always have access to fresh water and shade.  Never leave your pet unattended in a car.
  4. Themselves! – The loud noises and chaos of the holiday can lead to even the most docile pet becoming frantic.  Make sure your pet has a safe haven within your home and keep anything dangerous out of reach.  Some pets may even require a sedative to get them through the holiday.
  5. Alcohol – Be sure that any alcohol around during the holiday festivities is kept out of reach.
  6. Lighter fluid and matches – Lighter fluid can be irritating to the skin and ingestion of either matches or fluid can lead to serious problems in pets.
  7. Bug sprays and insect repellants – Many human-use bug sprays can cause problems for pets such as digestive upset or even neurological problems.  Citronella products and lead to problems if ingested or inhaled.
  8. Glow sticks – These fun holiday toys can be harmful if swallowed due to the risk of gastrointestinal obstruction or irritation.
  9. Decorations – Red, white, and blue décor can look like a fun chew toy!  Keep decorations out of paws reach.
  10. No ID – Pets that run when scared are more likely to become separated from their owners.  Be sure your pet is wearing current identification at all times. If your pet isn’t microchipped you should consider it, and if he is you should be sure that your contact information is up-to-date.

If you have any questions contact us or reach out to your primary veterinarian.