Since we are in the midst of the Holidays, I thought it would be nice to talk about holiday hazards. We love including our pets in our holiday celebrations. The holidays can be fun for everyone- humans and pets, but there are many potential hazards your pets can encounter that can result in holiday fun being interrupted by a disaster or merely personal and financial inconvenience. Recognizing these hazards and making small changes can make a huge difference.
Food. Around Thanksgiving and Christmas, there tends to be lots of rich, delicious foods. Dogs and even cats enjoy sharing in our feasting, but they can really get sick if they get into certain things we enjoy.
Chocolate: Most people are aware that chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats. Of course, there are many dogs who have gotten into chocolate and not had any problems at all. The amount of chocolate per pound of pet is important. Big dogs can get away with eating more chocolate. Typically, vomiting and diarrhea are the worst you will encounter with chocolate ingestion, but at high doses of milk chocolate and small doses of baker’s chocolate, pets can experience neurologic problems that can be fatal. The best rule of thumb is to keep your pets away from all chocolate!
Bones can also be a hazard. Poultry bones can splinter and cause perforations in the intestinal tract. Large bones can become lodged in the intestines or stuck in the stomach causing an obstruction. Often this requires surgery to treat.
Fat is also a big problem for dogs and cats. Dogs and cats LOVE to lick the fat out of pans. They can also get into trash where grease or fat has been disposed of. Some people actually put fat on their pets’ food. (My parents did this when I was a kid and I didn’t know better). Fat can cause severe pancreatitis. This may cause pain, vomiting and diarrhea at best, but at worst can lead to diabetes or death. Some dogs that get pancreatitis from getting into fat can have intermittent flare ups for the rest of their lives.
Trash Be aware of where you put your trash, and make sure your pets can’t get into it. Not only may your pet get into bones or fat in the trash, it may be drawn to the trash because of these things and eat other things they shouldn’t as well. We may have spoiled food in the trash, this can cause vomiting and diarrhea as well as neurologic problems and seizures. Additionally, your pet may eat paper towels or other indigestible things because they taste or smell like food. This can result in vomiting, diarrhea or even surgery.