Eliminate Pet Dangers

December 15, 2014

7 Holiday Pet Don’ts

Table Scraps
Feeding your pet with table scraps can also cause him to develop undesirable behaviors such as begging. Fatty foods which are often found on our tables can lead to severe dog health problems such as diarrhea, vomiting, and pancreatitis. Human foods to keep away from pets include onions and onion powder or any food prepared with them, garlic, alcoholic beverages, yeast dough, coffee grounds, beans, salt, macadamia nuts, tomatoes, potatoes, rhubarb leaves and stems, avocados, grapes and anything with mold growing on it. Also be sure not to give your animal chicken bones which can shatter and choke a cat or dog.

Toxic Plants
Holly and mistletoe along with their berries, have a greater toxicity level than the poinsettia. Symptoms of illness from ingesting these plants include intestinal upset, such as vomiting and diarrhea and abdominal pain. The poinsettia plants brightly colored leaves contain a sap that is irritating to the tissues of the mouth and esophagus.

Toxic Treats
The ingestion of baker’s chocolate can result in poisoning and are considered emergencies. The high fat in all chocolate causes some pets to develop pancreatitis. Theobromine, a cousin chemical to caffeine, is also found in chocolate. Grapes, Raisins and Currants: These fruits can cause sudden kidney failure in dogs, cats and ferrets.  Xylitol is a common sugar substitute used in sugar-free chewing gum, breath mints, candies and baked goods that causes a life threatening drop in blood sugar and causes liver damage in dogs. Cats and people do not experience this problem.

A 10 pound dog would only have to eat one piece of gum or one breath mint containing Xylitol to achieve a potentially toxic dose. Within 10 to 15 minutes of ingestion, a dog may develop hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and die without treatment.

Trash Cans
Cans and garbage can pose a danger when cats or smaller dogs attempt to lick food from a disposed can, sometimes getting their head caught inside the can. Moderate amounts of coffee grounds, tea bags, or one to two diet pills can be fatal in small animals.

Keep all open flames away from noses, paws, and swishing tails. Kittens and puppies are notorious for chewing on electric cords, so be careful that your decorative lights don’t become a deadly hazard. Monitor your pets closely when you’re at home and unplug the lights when you’re away.

Cats appear to be more sensitive, but fevers, respiratory difficulty, and tremors can be seen in both dogs and cats. In addition, cats (and some dogs) are attracted to long string-like objects including garland, tinsel, and ribbons. Although these are not poisonous, they can be ingested and this is where they can cause serious problems. These foreign bodies can get stuck in the pet’s stomach or intestines and slowly saw through the tissue causing a potentially fatal infection of the abdomen. Surgery is the only treatment option.

Christmas trees are considered to be mildly toxic. The fir tree oils can irritate to the mouth and stomach, causing excessive drooling or vomiting. The tree needles are not easily digested, but may cause GI irritation, vomiting, gastrointestinal obstruction or puncture. The principal things to worry about are toxin release from the artificial material and intestinal obstruction which is not digestible. I would recommend confining your pets away from the tree when you are not home and this will allow you to be able to “supervise” any tree or plant eating activity.