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A Christmas Story- By Dr. Lesley Gonzales

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house

All the creatures are stirring (including the mouse!)

With holiday festivities thick in the air,

Many hidden (and not-so-hidden) dangers lurk for your pets everywhere!


While the humans rest their heads on pillows so fat,

Dogs wander the house and think “Hmm, I could eat that…”

And the cats in their mischief, eyes wide, filled with joy,

See the big beautiful tree and think “Just for me!  So shiny, I must destroy…”


When out of the kitchen there arose such a clatter,

As Sunny the dog grabbed that leftover food platter

Under the table he flew like a flash,

Munching on bones & adding to his food-off-the-counter stash.


Those bones- cause obstructions and perforations, sometimes just runny poo,

But the onion he ate can cause blood problems too.

And yum! That Christmas ham, so fatty and tender,

Will trigger a pancreatitis that will make Sunny’s stomach feel like a blender.


Add to the stash, chocolates in the stockings and yummy chocolate cake,

The toxic effects (especially for little dogs) can be too much to take.

Rapid heartbeat and panting can be just the start,

Muscle tremors, even seizures, are often the worst part.


But wait!  What about those special brownies Aunt Pat brought along,

She mentioned some extra herbs…whatever it is it smelled pretty strong!

Now Sunny’s bradycardic and dizzy, with reflexes postponed,

And if he could talk, he’d tell you he’s stoned.


As Sunny sits under the table in his junk food-filled lair,

Jack the cat prowls the night for more particular fare.

Those new lovely plants, with shiny leaves and colorful parts,

Are Jack’s great love, on which he chooses to dine a la carte.


The lilies are the most dangerous, to be sure.

They can cause kidney failure, which we can’t always cure.

While poinsettias are mostly a trouble to digest,

Mistletoe can be bad for Jack’s little heart in his chest.


Don’t forget the water keeping that Christmas tree alive…

For some reason dogs and cats love it, and they’ll take a drink or five.

But along with the water fertilizer can still lurk,

Causing GI upset, but sometimes weakness or stiffness can also be at work.


And Oh! That wonderful Christmas tree!

Filled with electric lights, tinsel, glass bulbs…all cats will agree:

You’ve set up quite the amazing playground,

And up to the top your cats will bound.


“Let’s play with that electric cord!” thinks Rico the cat.

Nevermind the burns in the mouth and fluid in the lungs caused by that…

“And how about the tinsel…it’s such shiny string!”

His doctor will be doing surgery on his intestines next thing.


But let’s not forget our tiny, humble mouse;

They’re attracted to that welcoming warmth of your house.

Did you know they still carry the Plague in this part of the state?

Flu-like symptoms with fever for your dogs and cats (and you too!) await.


Don’t let this list take you out of the Christmas mood!

Just don’t forget to keep a close eye on your furry brood.

They’re part of the family and love to take part,

Keep their food and gifts pet friendly and they’ll still love you with all their heart.


But should trouble arise, keep our names in mind.

We’re happy to help if they get in a bind.

We treat them like our own, care with all our might,

But we hope to see you only to say Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Dr. Lesley Gonzales