Pet Dangers in your holiday home.
Pet owners should expect to enjoy the seasonal joys of the fall; our feasts and party treats can cause serious health risks to our pets due to their particular species and size sensitivities as compared to humans. Please read on and you may learn things that could save your pet’s life!
Pet owner’s Holiday Duties:
Pet owners can help keep their pets safe during the upcoming holidays by preventing accidental poisonings. Many human foods have been found to be poisonous to certain pets, depending on the species, dose of food consumed, and the pet’s own particular sensitivity. The following are the most common causes of pet distress and emergency treatments at our hospital’s after hours services.
Most pet owners know that some pets can become poisoned by consuming chocolate; dark chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, and baking cocoa are particularly dangerous as they have particularly high concentrations of the toxic ingredients of the bromine and caffeine that can make dogs and cats very ill. Clinical signs of intoxication are nervousness, vomiting, twitching, convulsions, and possibly seizures. If you suspect that your pet has ingested chocolate please call your regular or after hours veterinarian immediately.
Onions and onion powder, garlic, and chives can cause blood toxicities with few early signs of disease until it is too late in cats and dogs. Do not offer pets onions or onion products; call your veterinarian if you suspect an accidental ingestion.
Fats and spices:
The most common causes of preventable vomiting and diarrhea many veterinarians see are secondary to the pets being fed or accidentally getting table scraps that have fatty pieces, oils, and/or spices. Common causes are steak and pork trimmings, spaghetti sauces, cheese dips, and pizza. If your pet vomits take all food and water away from them and call your veterinarian for advice on what to do next. A safe alternative for a “treat” for your pets are pieces of their regular dry food, plain unflavored Cheerios, small slices of apples, carrots, or green beans (without added butter, fats, or spices, of course.)
This artificial sweetener found in some chewing gums and sugarless human treats can cause a severe drop in blood sugar in dogs (but not apparently cats or humans) as their bodies react to it as it were real sugar. This causes a spike of insulin to be produced in their bodies to counteract the “fake sugar” with a resultant hypoglycemic event. Lethargy, seizures, and death can ensue if the ingested amount is excessive for that pet. Your pet needs to be taken immediately to the closest veterinarian office that is open if you are witness to these clinical signs in your pet.
Bread and other yeast doughs smell as good to our pets as they do to us. Unfortunately, the pet that chooses to make a quick meal of rising bread dough can wind up with alcohol and obstruction from the expanding volume of the rising dough. Your pet will need immediate veterinary care if they find themselves in this predicament!
Grapes and their dehydrated version raisins can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and extreme lethargy and kidney failure. The poisoned pet needs IV fluid treatment, activated charcoal decontamination, and/or blood tests for 24-48 hrs. Call your DVM as soon as you see such signs.
Things that get “stuck” in pets’ intestines:
Corncobs, peach pits, avocado pits, and bones are a common culprit in acute intestinal obstructions requiring emergency surgery to treat or prevent a fatal perforation. Pet’s eye’s and noses are too often much bigger than their intestines as they do not anticipate what may happen if they “bite off more than they can chew.” If your pet has possibly ingested such items and they are found to be reluctant to eat their next meal or vomit after trying to eat or drink are in need of immediate veterinary care.
Macadamia nuts have caused vomiting and neurological disorders ranging from temporary loss of limb function to seizures in some dogs. Brazil nuts have caused selenium toxicoses in pets, large walnuts if ingested whole can cause intestinal obstructions. Nut are some of the many treats we may have around for snacking that in some pets’ cases can cause a potential lethal problems so keep them out of reach of your pets.
Milk and milk products:
Many pets are lactose intolerant so ingestion of cow, goat milk, or yogurt can cause diarrhea in the sensitive pet.
Glow in the dark items:
These items are popular with children and cats often are intrigued to the point of biting them. The active ingredients that cause the glowing are relatively harmless but can cause profuse salivation, foaming, and vomiting. Head shaking, aggression, and hyperactivity due to the intense foul taste has been reported. Wash off any contaminated fur and monitor for prompt resolution of the clinical signs. Call your veterinarian for advice as soon as practical.