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What's fun, easy, or delicious to us may be toxic to the animals we share our homes with. Jessi gives you a quick rundown on some of the more common toxic holiday items - and some may surprise you.

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Jessi: During the holidays we get to enjoy lots of things. Good food, pretty decorations, and plenty of innovations that make things easier. The holidays are a time for humans to enjoy and appreciate different aspects of life, but for animals? It can mean life or death. Let's talk about the dangers of common holiday items to the animals that share our home. Let's call it, a toxic holiday.

[Theme plays]

Jessi: Many of us have heard that certain holiday plants can be toxic to pets. Poinsettias are usually the first to come to mind. However, the toxicity level is nowhere near the hype that it gets. A human would have to consume 500 or 600 leaves to make it mildly toxic. And rats show no adverse effects with an equivalent ratio. Now, dogs, cats, and birds are affected, but the symptoms are also quite mild.

The milky sap from poinsettia leaves and stems can cause skin or eye irritation and a bit of an upset stomach. So while poinsettias should be kept out of the reach of animals to avoid irritation, there are much more dangerous plants to be aware of.

Mistletoe contains polysaccharides, alkaloids, and lectins, which when ingested can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, which results in symptoms like diarrhea, drooling, vomiting, and abdominal pain. If consumed in large quantities it can cause abnormal heart rate, hypo-tension, ataxia, seizures, and even death.

Holly has spiny leaves and berries but if they are consumed by your pet they can cause pretty severe gastrointestinal irritation. However, an even more toxic holiday plant is the most commonly used flower in fancy bouquets: the lily. There are safe lilies, including the peace lily, Peruvian lily and calla lilies. But there are more dangerous species than safe species, including the tiger lily and day lily.

Toxic lilies can cause acute kidney failure in cats, live threatening heart arrhythmia in dogs, cats, and birds and liver failure in reptiles, so probably avoid lilies altogether. If you're not a plant person but you still enjoy nice holiday decor, it's a good idea to keep your pets in mind when you are putting up the decorations. Tinsel is a really big pain in the butt, literally.

Animals who eat the shiny, fun-to-play-with stuff can end up with an intestinal blockage, irritation, or even difficulty defecating. So, maybe skip the tinsel this year. If you're more of a holiday food enjoy-er, then you should probably be aware of some of the holiday favorites that are not so enjoyable for your non-human friends. We all know that chocolate is bad for dogs, cats, and other animals, but did you know that grapes and raisins can also be toxic?

Just once serving can lead to kidney failure and death. But it usually takes more than just a handful to cause such a severe reaction, but better safe than sorry. So avoid access to grapes and other food that might contain raisins, like fruitcake. Now most people think that turkey is a healthy choice to give their pets as a treat, and it is, most of it.

The meat from a turkey is fine to offer. However if you're just offering the fat trimmings without the meat it can lead to pancreatitis due to the high fat and low protein intake. So if you want to give your pet a meaty treat, give both the fat and the protein together, but avoid seasonings like rosemary and make sure you remove the bones.

Speaking of bones, bones are usually a good natural treat to give your dogs, but once they have been cooked, they become dry and brittle. The splinters can puncture the intestinal walls as they are digested, ouch. Other common foods that are toxic but often not thought about because they are incorporated into other holiday dishes are onions and garlic.

Plants from the allium family which includes garlic, onions, leeks, and chives, can be toxic to most animals. It can be harmful to dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, birds, reptiles, and more. Onions and garlic can cause oxidative damage to red blood cells or hemolytic anemia, meaning that the cells begin to rupture. Allium plants can also cause inflammation to the G.I. tract resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

So by now you've probably thrown out your pretty plants and ornaments and maybe made some alterations to your holiday menu but the next danger is what you use to cook that food. Non-stick pans can be deadly to birds if they become too hot. The most commonly used material in non-stick pans is polytetrafluoroethylene more widely known as Teflon. When Teflon reaches temperatures of 300 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit the polymer fumes are released into the air where they can be inhaled.

While these fumes are not so good for humans, they can cause immediate death in birds. A bird's respiratory system is specialized to allow quick, efficient air exchange. Which allows toxins to enter and cause irreversible damage. Have you had enough doom and gloom yet? Are you ready to take on the holidays? If I've overwhelmed you and you now have a headache, wait - before you reach for that medicine cabinet, I have one more warning.

Naproxen which is in Aleve and Ibuprofen are both extremely dangerous to most animals. These medications inhibit blood flow to the kidneys and interfere with the lining of the stomach. They are highly toxic and can lead to death in dogs, cats, and many other animals. So whatever holiday you're getting ready to celebrate, remember that we have some pretty amazing things that we get to enjoy, but they're not always safe for our animal companions. So from all of us at Animal Wonders, happy holidays.

[Theme plays]

Jessi: She had an arm full of supplies and a sad look on her face. She told me that she had offered to watch her friend's dog and unknown to her, that dog had fleas which were then shared with her dogs and her entire family.