We all eat things we shouldn’t from time to time, after all, who can resist that extra serving of dessert at Christmas? Luckily for us, the worst consequences often require us to loosen our belts and put on some stretchy clothing. Unfortunately for our pet pals this isn’t their reality.
When animals are allowed to overindulge it can mean an emergency visit to the vet.
This festive season keep an eye out for the following dangers:
- Chocolate: We’ve previously discussed the toxicity of chocolate for animals and would like to reinforce that (even a little bit) it’s a serious health threat to your pal. Do them a favour – eat it yourself!
- Bread Dough: Unbaked bread dough can be poisonous to dogs and cats. When ingested, the unbaked bread dough expands in the warm, moist environment of the stomach and can result in a bloated stomach; this can then progress to a gastric-dilatation volvulus (GDV), which is a twisted stomach.
- Coffee and Alcohol: These items can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.
- Medication: There are often a large number of visitors during the holiday season, and pets often get into medications that friends or family have brought with them. Pets can be quite curious so ensure your guests put their medication in a closed cabinet that is not accessible to pets. Be sure that when they take their medications that they do so behind a closed door, such as the bathroom, so that a dropped pill can be found before the pet has a chance to eat it.
- Christmas Tree: Pine needles from Christmas trees can result in oral irritation, vomiting, lethargy, trembling, and posterior weakness. Make sure that your pet isn’t having a nibble.
- Garlic, Chives and Onions: Garlic and onions contain chemicals that damage red blood cells in cats and dogs. Cooking these foods does not reduce their potential toxicity.
- Fat trimmings: Check with your veterinarian to find out which holiday delicacies you can share with your pet companion. Some pets may be OK to enjoy a small bite of turkey once in a while, but don’t go overboard with the table scraps.
- Bones: Beware bones, especially those prone to splintering like chicken and pork can cause intestinal damage in your pet.
- Nutmeg and Nuts: Nuts, including almonds, pecans, macadamia and walnuts contain high amounts of oils and fats. The fats can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.
- Avocado: contains a dangerous toxin which can damage the heart, lungs and tissue of many different animals
- Raisins and Grapes: Grapes and raisins can cause acute (sudden) kidney failure in cats and dogs.
- Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in vitamins and other human ingestible, including sugar-free baked goods and gum.
To be safe, human food items should not be given to pets unless recommended by your veterinarian. Children should also be taught to never give candy, gum, or other human food items to pets.
Give your pet their own quiet space to retreat to with fresh water, toys and a place to sleep. Create a safe zone where they can go if they are feeling frightened or overwhelmed that’s a ‘no go’ zone for guests.