Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Who knew: holidays can damage your pet

Had an interesting chat with my favorite vet just before Christmas. So much enlightening and comprehensive information! And even though some of us are already done with the holidays, lots or most of the information below will still be of interest for this year or the next. Who knew holidays are this fraught with danger?
Dangerous Foods -The following can be toxic to dogs: chocolate, raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, garlic, onion, caffeinated beverages, bread dough, and sugar-free candy and gum containing artificial sweeteners.
        Chocolate - Can affect cardiovascular, nervous and digestive systems. Even people are affected by the caffeine in chocolate in different ways, so you definitely won't know how your poor dog will react to it either. The smaller the dog - the more immediate the reaction because of their low body mass.
     Candy and Gum (especially if sweetened with Xylitol)
- Can be extremely toxic and even fatal, if ingested.  Internet is filled with stories of healthy dogs dying suddenly after Xylitol poisoning.
    Alcohol - Can cause weakness, lethargy, coma or even death if ingested.  
 Regular, Human Food -Despite tradition, chicken and turkey bones should never be given to pets. Just think about it, poultry bones have to be hollow on the inside in order to not weigh the poor bird down. This "hollow" quality then makes those bones splinter and perforate any organ from the mouth to the stomach of the poor dog after he eats it. A friend of mine spent over $2,000 in a mad, desperate effort to open the stomach of her beloved Rottweiler after just such a bone splintered inside his stomach. Lucky for her, he survived, but a lot of dogs don't. 
Plants - Hazardous plants include mistletoe, some evergreens (pine is on the list), holly bushes and berries. Try to keep these plants away from pets, or at least supervise pets when dangerous plants are nearby.

             Mistletoe - Can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems.  Mistletoe is considered poisonous to humans too, so imagine what it can do to an animal.
     Holly and Lilies - Many varieties can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Christmas Trees - Monitor your pets when they are   around your holiday tree. Pets may eat the needles or drink water from the base of the tree, which can be toxic (especially if there are preservatives in it). Stagnant tree water may contain fertilizers that may cause an upset stomach; since it may contain bacteria, leading to nausea or diarrhea.
Decorations - Ornaments, ribbons, string, and garlands are some items that can be dangerous if eaten by pets. Keep these items away from pets — especially when pets are unattended. Don't forget to cover any electrical cords or keep them out of reach.
            Tinsel- A favorite among cats, tinsel is the leading culprit in causing an obstructed digestive tract, vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery if ingested. 
Fire and Carbon Monoxide -Monitor pets near fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, candles, and portable heaters. Space heaters, furnaces, and idling cars (in a garage) can increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in pets and humans.


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