MPH Blog

Posts for: December, 2013

By R. deLeon-Mims
December 22, 2013
Category: Pet Safety
Tags: Holiday   Amaryllis   Holly   Mistletoe   Pine   Poinsettia  

This holiday season as we’re hosting guests and decorating our homes we should keep in mind while decorating our dwellings with greenery or accepting floral gifts, be aware of the potential for toxicity that festive plants can have for pets.



The Amaryllis contains Lycorine and other noxious substances, which cause salivation, gastrointestinal abnormalities (vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, and abdominal pain), lethargy, and tremors in both cats and dogs. The bulb of the plant is reputed to be more dangerous than the flowers and stalk.



In dogs and cats, consumption of Holly leaves and berries causes gastrointestinal signs like vomiting and/or diarrhea and lethargy.


Decorative Pine Trees

There are a variety of pine trees that have the potential for causing toxicity, including the Australian, Norfolk, and Norfolk Island Pine. Additionally, the water used to nourish a pine tree can be quite noxious. Bacteria, molds, and fertilizers can cause your pet to become extremely sick with only a few laps.



Consumption of mistletoe berries or leaves can cause severe gastrointestinal, cardiovascular (low blood pressure, low heart rate), and neurologic (collapse, unusual behavior) signs.



This plant has an over exaggerated bad rep for being toxic to our pets.  Though we shouldn’t be overly worried, poinsettias do contain a latex-like sap that causes oral irritation and vomiting.


All in all, the best way to keep your pets safe from potentially harmful plants this season is prevention.  Try to keep pets separate from areas where these plants are in your home, or you may opt to forgo keeping these plants in your home this season.  In any case, if your suspect that your pet may have ingested a plant that is toxic or anything harmful for that matter, please contact our office immediately.  Also, the ASPCA has a Poison Hotline you can contact at (888)426-4435 for any poison related emergency.


Have a safe and happy holiday!




By Heather Beeson-Mazzone of Morena Pet Hospital
December 10, 2013
Category: Pet Travel


The holidays are often a magical time of year for sharing good cheer with family and friends, but it can also be stressful if traveling with pets.  No matter if you are boarding your pet ‘away in a manger’ or taking your pet with you while you ‘traverse afar’, here are some tips that will help you and your pets make the most of this holiday season.

  • Always plan ahead with your travels (whether you are traveling with your pet, leaving them at a boarding facility, or having a pet-sitter check in on them).  Each airline has its own pet policy, so it’s a good idea to check with the specific airline you plan on using in advance.

Tip: Non-stop flights are highly recommended when traveling with pets.

Tip: Always try to fly your pets in-cabin whenever possible (this will often depend on the size of your pet and the airline you use).

  • Do you hear what I hear?  We understand that traveling for the holidays is not always an option for our furry loved ones.  If you are looking for safe pet boarding, we here at Morena Pet Hospital offer the perfect place to board your special friend. With comfortable accommodations, we provide loving care when your pet needs a "home away from home".
  • Many airlines now require pets to have a health certificate to ensure they are fit for travel. Check with your veterinarian ahead of time to ensure proper procedure is met, especially when traveling abroad.
  • Often times an airline approved carrier is required.  A good choice is the Sherpa carrier, which was the first soft-sided pet carrier to be endorsed by major airlines for pets on the go.  If your pets are flying cargo, do splurge on a good-quality carrier that has secure construction, metal doors, effective locking mechanism, and is well-ventilated.  The carrier should also be large enough for your pet to comfortably stand up and turn around in.

Tip: Remember to get your pet accustomed to his/her carrier before your expected travel day.  Put a familiar blanket or article of clothing to help calm your pup or kitty while in route.  For more tips on getting your pet comfortable with the carrier, visit our previous article, Tips on Getting Your Cat to the Veterinarian.

Tip: Have your pet’s carrier clearly labeled with your name and contact information.

  • If you are traveling by car, it is a good idea to take your pet on some “test drives”.  If he/she gets car sick, consult your veterinarian for some suggestions on how to make the trip more comfortable. 
  • Consult your veterinarian if you plan on using calming treats, supplements, or sedatives for your pet’s travel; also it is best to know how your pet will respond to these medications at home, before traveling.
  • If making stops on the way, plan ahead and know which hotels, motels, or campgrounds are pet-friendly and book accordingly.
  • Whether you are traveling with your pet, leaving them at a boarding facility, or having a pet-sitter check in on them, it is recommended that you have all of your pets micro-chipped (and registered!) and that they are wearing proper identification with updated contact information.  Consider purchasing and setting up the TAGG Pet Tracker, a recent product on the market that uses GPS technology to locate your pets.

Remember, spending a short amount of time preparing for your travels now will greatly benefit you and your pets and ease your worries during the real hustle and bustle of the holidays.

For more tips on how to protect your pet from holiday dangers, visit our blog article, Holiday Pet Safety Tips.


Boswell, Laura. Holiday Pet Travel Guide. TravelChannel.

AVMA. Traveling With Your Pet FAQ, 2012.

Quaker Pet Group. Sherpa

SnapTrac's Inc. TAGG, the Pet Tracker