Lessons from a puppy who swallowed a string of Christmas lights - Dr. Marty Becker

Lessons from a puppy who swallowed a string of Christmas lights

Monday, Dec 8th, 2014 | By Dr. Marty Becker

One of my most memorable, long-ago holiday cases was the Labrador Retriever puppy (what else!) who had swallowed an entire string of Christmas tree lights.

When he was brought in, gagging, I opened his mouth and could still see the plug, far in the back. I have to admit it was tempting to anesthetize him, plug it in, and see if an ethereal glow from the body would tell us where in the gastrointestinal tract to look for the lights. This was a case that called for a specialist, though. Back then, we didn’t have the imaging or endoscopic equipment to locate and remove the lights.

Sometimes, it’s almost as if pets think the holidays aren’t complete without a trip to the emergency room. They suffer electroshock burns of the mouth from chewing on Christmas tree light cords, devour whole plates full of fudge, eat the toxic mistletoe berries off kissing balls, and raid the trash for the string used to wrap the turkey or ham.

As veterinarians, we’ve seen it all, and we don’t want you to have to. Check out my tips for keeping  your dogs and cats safe, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Festivus, here!