Holiday Safety Tips

Holiday Safety Tips

The holidays are right around the corner. So, just remember, even though feeding your pets from the table may be tempting, any food your pets’ digestive system is not accustomed to could cause problems.  Our holiday safety tips are focused on letting your pet under the dinner table without getting to potentially dangerous food.

Vomiting, diarrhea, and upset stomach may be just a start. More serious diseases such as pancreatitis, organ disease, and other illnesses can result from letting them eat anything they can get. This may lead to hospitalization in the most extreme cases.

If you choose to feed your pet from the table, these are the foods to completely avoid:

dog in santa hat in front of sweets

Chocolate: Most people are aware that chocolate is bad for pets, you may not know that the darker the chocolate the more dangerous it can be.  Chocolate can cause an upset stomach, tremors, seizures, and even death if enough is ingested.

Xylitol:  This is an artificial sweetener that is often used in types of candy. If this is ingested, it can cause low blood sugar, and possible liver failure.

Raisins/grapes: These can cause renal failure and the toxic dose differs for every individual. For some pets, even a couple could result in toxicities.

Macadamia nuts: Muscle weakness, tremors, and vomiting can occur with ingestion. Macadamia nuts first were found in Australia. They are currently grown in Hawaii, California, and Mexico. For a full history, you could read a history of Macadamia Nuts.

Onions and garlic: Eating these foods can lead to destruction of red blood cells and can cause anemia.

While all pets’ stomachs are different and some are more sensitive than others, some “ok” people food include:

dog in santa hat licking treats

  • Carrots
  • Small pieces of apple (NO seeds or core)
  • Green beans
  • Lean meats (avoid ham since very high in salt)

If your pet is dedicated and tricky enough then they might have outsmarted our Holiday Safety Tips. You may believe that your pet may have ingested something toxic or unhealthy or if you are noticing any signs of digestive issues then you should contact us. Please call the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County at (717) 775-7554.

If possible, please provide the following information when calling so the veterinarian can better help your pet:

  • Food ingested
  • Quantity
  • Pet’s approximate weight
  • Time of ingestion
  • Any signs of illness you are seeing.

Wishing you and your pets a very happy and healthy holiday season!!!

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Meet Our Team

  • Dr. Bob  Sarsfield Photo
    Dr. Bob Sarsfield
    Veterinarian in Harrisburg, PA The chief medical officer and owner and has been with the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County since 1979. He started out working in the kennel and then attended Penn State University, which he graduated from in 1985. He received his DVM from Purdue University in 1989. His professional areas of interest include feline and canine medicine and surgery, ultrasound, and low level laser therapy. Contact the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County today and make an appointment ...
  • Dr. Heather  Balmer Photo
    Dr. Heather Balmer
    Dr. Heather Balmer (Zanes) is managing veterinarian and has been with the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County since 1999. Dr. Balmer first worked as a kennel assistant and then as a veterinary technician assistant. She received her undergraduate degree from Juniata College and her VMD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 2009. Dr. Balmer was raised in Penbrook but currently lives with her husband, Matt, and grandmother in Hummelstown along with their four-legged ...
  • Dr. Kelly  Allen Photo
    Dr. Kelly Allen
    Dr. Kelly Allen joined the staff of the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County in 2011. She is a graduate of Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, PA. She enjoys talking to clients about their furry family members. Dr. Allen has a keen interest in animal behavior and enjoys helping new dog and cat owners as they experience the joy (and sometimes frustrations) of introducing an animal into the family. She lives with her husband, Todd, and one ...
  • Dr. Jennifer  Fletcher Eckenrode Photo
    Dr. Jennifer Fletcher Eckenrode
    Dr. Jennifer Fletcher Eckenrode, CCRT joined the staff of the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County in 2011. She attended Colorado State University where she earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Microbiology and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. Originally from Boston, Dr. Fletcher grew up in Michigan. She has lived in California, Michigan, Minnesota, Colorado, and even Perth, Australia. She lives in Mechanicsburg with her husband (also a veterinarian!) and daughter, their Heeler-Lab mix, Colbie, ...
  • Dr. Audrey  Zajac Photo
    Dr. Audrey Zajac
    Dr. Audrey Zajac joined the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County in July, 2013. She became interested in animals at a young age, spending her summers working on her grandparents’ dairy farm and riding horses at 12 years old. Dr. Zajac attended King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, PA, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and headed off to Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in Auburn, AL. After graduation, she returned to PA in 2009 where she worked with dogs, cats, and horses ...
  • Dr. Whitney  Wolfgang Photo
    Dr. Whitney Wolfgang
    Dr. Whitney Wolfgang joined the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County in June 2016. Growing up in Hummelstown, PA, Dr. Wolfgang always knew she wanted to work with animals in some capacity. Early in her college career, she fell in love with veterinary medicine. She graduated from Towson University in Maryland with a dual degree in Biology and Animal Behavior. She traveled to South Africa for a veterinary experience with local community outreach and wildlife veterinary medicine. Dr. Wolfgang earned ...
  • Dr. Lloyd V.  Reitz, Jr. Photo
    Dr. Lloyd V. Reitz, Jr.
    Dr. Lloyd V. Reitz, Jr. grew up on his family’s fourth-generation dairy farm in Shamokin, PA. In addition to caring for cows, he grew up with a wide variety animals, including horses, pigs, chickens, rabbits, cats, dogs, and even a couple of emus. Dr. Reitz pursued a degree in Biology from Messiah College, graduating in 2001. He then continued his education at Bucknell University, obtaining a Master’s of Science in Cellular Biology in 2004. After receiving his M.S., he moved to Richmond, VA, and ...
  • Dr. Jamie  Putt Photo
    Dr. Jamie Putt
    Dr. Jamie Putt is a native of Harrisburg, PA. She obtained her B.S. in Animal Bioscience from Pennsylvania State University in 2001. She attended veterinary school at Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine and obtained her D.V.M. in 2005. Dr. Putt is a current active member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Foundation for Veterinary Dentistry, the mission of which is to educate the public about the importance of oral health in animals. Her special ...
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