Pet Emergencies Spike During Holiday Season: The Emergency Veterinary Staff at MedVet Chicago Recommend These 5 Tips for Keeping Pets Safe this Holiday Season

Holiday Pet Safety Tips
With all of the additional treats, decorations and excitement hanging around during this time of the year, it is no wonder pets can often times find themselves in a bit of trouble during the holiday season. “We typically see an increase in the number of cases involving chocolate ingestion and general gastrointestinal-related problems from pets getting into things they shouldn’t over the holidays,” said Dr. Stacia Volbrecht, emergency veterinarian at MedVet Chicago.

In order to keep pets happy and healthy this holiday season, the veterinarians of MedVet Chicago have recommended a few holiday pet health tips:

  1. Food & Drinks: Beware of the cute begging face! Although dogs and cats may be interested in partaking in all of the seasonal treats that the holidays bring, there are several items that can be extremely toxic to pets. Pets should always be kept away from any items containing xylitol (common candy ingredient), alcohol, fatty meats, bones, and most importantly, chocolate-which can become lethal if ingested even in the smallest quantity.
  2. Decorations: Whether you have a rambunctious young Labrador or a seemingly lazy house cat, there’s nothing quite like the shine and glimmer of holiday decorations to ignite the mischievous side of even the most well-behaved pets. With that in mind, it is always best to keep anything that may be ingested out of the reach of pets, such as tinsel and ornaments, which can become lodged within the gastrointestinal tract and require surgery to remove. Additionally, some pets will also find the flicker of a lit candle enticing and therefore should be kept out of reach to minimize the risk of burns.
  3. Plants: Holiday plants are a great way to decorate a home, but can present real dangers, as many are toxic to pets. The level of toxicity will vary, but it is always best to keep lilies, mistletoe, holly, ivy, chrysanthemums and evergreen, to name a few, away from pets. Even non-toxic plants can still cause severe gastrointestinal upset if ingested in large quantity.
  4. Purses and Bags: By nature, most pets tend to be curious creatures, nosing around in shopping bags and purses within reach to see what’s inside. Be sure to keep purses and bags off of the ground and out of reach of pets to minimize the ingestion risk of anything that may be toxic to pets, including medication, candy, gum, etc.
  5. Holiday Parties and Guests: One of the great things about the holidays is the extra time spent with family and friends. Unfortunately, the increase in the number of guests and the extra excitement from holiday get-togethers can often be overwhelming to pets. If having guests over, it may be best to set up a comfortable and quiet area within the house, such as a bedroom or office, for pets to stay during the festivities. This will minimize anxiety created from knocks on the door and loud noises, as well as minimize the risk of ingestion of holiday food and beverages left out for guests.

What to do in a Pet Emergency

If a pet is experiencing a medical emergency, pet owners are encouraged to immediately contact their family veterinarian or MedVet Chicago for guidance and help. MedVet Chicago can be reached
24-hours a day, every day of the year, by calling (773) 281-7110 or in-person at 3123 N. Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60618.

About MedVet Chicago

MedVet Chicago (formerly Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center) is a 24-hour emergency, critical care and specialty animal hospital which is part of the MedVet Medical & Cancer Centers for Pets patient care family. MedVet is employee owned, veterinary led, and is leading specialty healthcare for pets. MedVet provides specialty referral services for in-depth care and patient management, as well as emergency services, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. More than 100,000 dogs and cats are treated annually at MedVet’s expanding network of medical centers across the country.

Contact: Eva Kaltenbach
MedVet Medical & Cancer Centers for Pets
(773) 281-7110 x1101

By | Posted In News Releases

Related Articles

Service Dogs Receive a Complimentary Health Screening at MedVet in May

MedVet is providing complimentary eye exams the entire month of May to service dogs during the annual ACVO®/StokesRx™ National Service Animal Eye Exam Event. Three MedVet locations in Ohio are providing these screenings: Columbus, Cincinnati, and Dayton. These screenings are by appointment only. More than 7,500 service and working animals will receive sight-saving eye exams this year, with over 68,000 since the program began in 2008. More than 150 of those service dogs are examined…

Read More


COLUMBUS, OH (April 12, 2019) ­­­­– MedVet, a growing nationwide network of specialty veterinary hospitals is proud to announce its expansion to San Jose, California with the addition of Silicon Valley Veterinary Specialists. “MedVet and Silicon Valley Veterinary Specialists share in a deep commitment to leading specialty healthcare for pets and delivering the highest standard of quality and compassionate care,” said Dr. Eric Schertel, Chief Executive Officer of MedVet. “We are excited to have…

Read More


MedVet, a growing nationwide network of specialty veterinary hospitals is proud to announce its MedVet hospitals located in Cincinnati, OH; Columbus, OH; Dayton, OH; Hilliard, OH; and Lexington, KY; have once again achieved the highest level of veterinary excellence following a thorough evaluation by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). Each of these MedVet hospitals re-earned AAHA accreditation after a rigorous review of the respective hospital’s practice protocols, medical equipment,…

Read More

MedVet Announces Matt Erick as President

MedVet is pleased to announce that Matt Erick will join the organization as President, effective today. Erick’s most recent role was President, North America for Mylan Pharmaceuticals. In his new role at MedVet, he will report directly to Dr. Eric Schertel, CEO of MedVet and work in close partnership with Dr. Linda Lehmkuhl, Chief Medical Officer. “We are very excited to welcome Matt to the MedVet family. Leveraging his tremendous experience leading…

Read More

MedVet Expands Specialty and Emergency Services to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

MedVet is pleased to announce its expansion into Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with the addition of University Veterinary Specialists (UVS), now known as MedVet Pittsburgh. The City Vets and VetNow divisions of UVS will not be part of MedVet Pittsburgh. MedVet looks forward to providing local veterinarians continued support and access to specialty and emergency veterinary care throughout the greater Pittsburgh community. “We are very excited to be expanding in the Pittsburgh community,” said MedVet President…

Read More