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Penn Vet Warning Pet Owners About Potential Holiday Hazards

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(Credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

(Credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It might be the most wonderful time of the year for humans, but it certainly isn’t for pets.

With the holiday season in full swing, the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine is warning pet owners about some holiday-related health hazards for their beloved animals.

“Tinsel, wires for decorations, and ornaments all pose potential pet problems,” Penn Vet says.

Tinsel can apparently cut the intestines and cause severe internal injuries, and ornament hooks can bend or break and are easily swallowed by pets, which can cause mouth, esophageal or stomach damage.

Pet owners should also beware of dough ornaments, which are high in salt and can cause vomiting and diarrhea when ingested.

Poisonous plants can also pose a danger to pets, but surprise: the much-maligned poinsettia isn’t even near the worst of the bunch. While a pet that chows down on part of the holiday bloom might experience vomiting, lack of appetite or depression, the symptoms should only last a few hours, and Penn Vet recommends restricting your pet’s food or water until they appear to feel better.

Yew, holly and lily (particularly for cats) are actually far more dangerous. While holly is mildly toxic, owners should probably be more concerned about the spines on the leaves than the poison in the plant. And yew, while not typically brought inside the house, is “incredibly cardiotoxic.”

Meanwhile, lily can cause kidney damage and failure and is particularly deadly to cats. Pet owners are advised to call their vet immediately if any part of the lily plant is ingested by their pet.

Finally, what about slipping Fido an extra treat or two from the holiday table?

Penn Vet says not so fast – turkey, ham and the cooked skin of animals can cause gastrointestinal upsets, and bones could cause choking and a multitude of stomach issues.

And while it goes without saying that chocolate is toxic to dogs, other holiday favorites – such as nuts, raisins, alcohol and bread dough – can also pose major risks.

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