Protect Your Household From Holiday Pet Dangers

The toxic effects of the chocolate caused Duffy to experience low blood pressure, a rapid heart rate and a low grade heart murmur in addition to dehydration.

Nothing can put the damper on holiday festivities like a pet emergency. Since December is full of celebrations, it’s important to know that VCA is available for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, no matter where you’re celebrating.

The holidays are wonderful, but they can be hazardous for pets. From chocolate and poisonous plants to everything in between, it’s easy for pets to get into trouble. When VCA associate Courtney Walsh’s dog Duffy got into chocolate around Christmastime a few years ago, she learned just how dangerous it can be.

Like so many of us do this time of year, Courtney, a veterinary assistant at VCA Katonah Bedford, had baked chocolate chip cookies (with extra chocolate) for a holiday gathering. Since Duffy had never gotten into food before, Courtney didn’t think anything of placing a plastic bag full of the cookies on the dining room table. 

When Courtney got home from work that evening, she found shredded plastic all over the floor, and the majority of the cookies gone. Duffy had ingested two dozen chocolate chip cookies. He experienced vomiting and diarrhea overnight and by the next morning, he could no longer stand. The family decided to bring him to VCA Katonah Bedford Veterinary Center in Bedford Hills, NY. 

The toxic effects of the chocolate caused Duffy to experience low blood pressure, a rapid heart rate and a low grade heart murmur in addition to dehydration caused by the vomiting and diarrhea. Many dogs are treated for chocolate toxicity and released within 24 hours. But since Duffy’s reaction was severe, he was hospitalized for three days and Courtney came very close to losing him.

“It wasn’t until the third day, when I saw him up and walking, that I was able to breathe,” remembers Courtney.

Duffy made a complete recovery and is now 17 years young. But Courtney knows Duffy was lucky, and urges other pet owners to seek care as soon as they notice something is wrong.

“This happened before I was a veterinary assistant, so I didn’t understand how serious it was,” says Courtney. “Now I urge clients to reach out to us right away if something like this happens to them.”

VCA knows that pet emergencies don’t always happen at convenient times or when you’re close to home. To give our clients peace of mind this holiday season, VCA is offering FREE 24/7 Live Chat with a licensed veterinary professional through the myVCA app until January 4.

Simply download the app and tap the chat icon to be connected with an on-call veterinary professional who can address any questions or concerns you may have about your pet’s well-being.

Are you concerned about emergencies during the holiday season?

  • Read our Related Articles below
  • Download the myVCA app today!
  • Find an emergency hospital in your neighborhood
To give our clients peace of mind this holiday season, VCA is offering FREE 24/7 Live Chat with a licensed veterinary professional through the myVCA app until January 4.
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