“Grandma’s potato salad ends up in the garbage, and the dog can knock over the garbage can,” said Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, a veterinary specialist with the VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital in Denver. “It’s a petri dish for bacteria.”
Or worse. “Scraps can be a danger of 6, 7, 8 on a scale of 10, versus 2, 3, 4 for chocolate,” said Benson. Fatty scraps can lead to pancreatitis. Turkey bones, if ingested, can splinter or become lodged in the digestive tract.
Then there are more unusual holiday risks. “We always worry with cats at Christmastime, about that tinsel you put on the tree,” Benson said. If ingested, he said, “it anchors in the near part of the gut,” and can cut through the digestive tract. Ribbon and ornaments pose problems, too.
In 2011, Chatham, N.J., resident Ashley Tate found her poodle, Normandy, chewing on the metal topper for a Christmas ornament. A desperate search failed to turn up the glass ball that had been attached to it.