The holidays are a fun and exciting time! From decorations, to shopping, vacations, and delicious holiday treats. Our pets, as part of our families, often are able to partake in some of the holiday festivities. While this is a great way to get some awesome Instagram and Facebook pictures, it can be a dangerous time for your pet too. At Dr. Boyd’s Pet Resort and Veterinary Center we want to make sure that your pet partakes in all safe and fun holiday activities, yet avoids the potential dangerous aspects of the holidays. To help keep your pet safe, we have created a list of potential dangers that tend to be more commonly seen during the holidays. Make sure to avoid the things listed below, and we can ensure a safe holiday for all!
High fat foods
This is especially crucial for those owners of dogs who are counter surfers and experts at getting to the holiday turkey dinner. High fat foods, and especially large amounts of high fat foods, can cause pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas and causes extreme pain, vomiting, diarrhea and frequently leads to hospitalization.
Also make sure that trash cans are inaccessible (outside, lidded, or secured in a cabinet) to our pets. Those delicious scraps can be tempting to pets.
Chocolate, Coffee, Caffeine
The darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of toxins, while baking chocolate contains the highest.
Grapes & Raisins
Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause kidney failure.
Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your pet’s digestive system. This can be painful and can cause the stomach or intestines to rupture. Because the risk diminishes after the dough is cooked and the yeast has fully risen, pets can have small bits of bread as treats.
Raw/Undercooked Meat, Eggs and Bones
Raw meat and raw eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli that can be harmful to pets. Raw bone ingestion can be very dangerous for a domestic pet, who might choke on bones, or sustain a grave injury should the bone splinter and become lodged in or puncture your pet’s digestive tract.
Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release in most species, which can lead to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels).
Onions, Garlic, Chives
These vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage.
Because pets do not possess significant amounts of lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk), milk and other milk-based products cause them diarrhea or other digestive upset.
Large amounts of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium ion poisoning in pets.
Non-Food Holiday hazards include:
– Christmas tree water, which may contain fertilizers and bacteria that can upset the stomach if ingested
– Electrical cords- Can cause electrocution
– Ribbons, tinsel, or New Year’s Eve decorations can become lodged in the intestines and cause intestinal obstruction—this most often occurs with kittens
– Glass ornaments.
– Lilies are especially toxic to cats! Even a tiny nibble can cause deadly kidney disease. Keep all lilies out of reach of cats or completely out of the house.
– Mistletoe and Holly
– Use caution with unattended lighted candles, especially those at tail-height.
While the list of things that could be dangerous if ingested by your pet is extensive, we hope that these food and holiday guidelines will help you to enjoy many more years of holidays with your pets and ensure a safe holiday season. If you have further questions or concerns, please call us at (619)260-6060.
If you have concerns about other potential toxins that are not listed above, the APCC (Animal Poison Control Center) experts are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you think that your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, make the call that can make all the difference: (888) 426-4435.