Holiday budget: $537 for presents, $52 for decorations ... and $300 to have the dog's stomach pumped?
This year, the average shopper will spend $737.95 on holiday expenses, reports the National Retail Federation. But pet owners budgeting for the holidays may also want to factor in the cost of an emergency vet visit for when their dog or cat eats something it shouldn't, an occurrence veterinarians say is more common this time of year.
"We always talk about Halloween as being the start of chocolate season," said Dr. Tina Wismer, medical director of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' Animal Poison Control Center.
Pets have access to quantity this time of year from a trick-or-treater's bag or a present under the tree. But the treat, which is toxic to cats and dogs, can trigger vomiting, diarrhea and—if eaten in larger amounts—seizures and even death, she said.
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"If she ate 15 Hershey's kisses, that would be a really big dose." That's what Cole Wolfson of Pittsburgh recalls emergency vets saying when he and his wife arrived home two days before Christmas to find their 15-pound Chihuahua-Corgi mix Deeka had raided a wrapped box of chocolates left beneath the tree.