The picture is adorable, but the reality of your pet consuming unsafe food or plants is anything but! Please take a minute and view the tips below and have a Safe, Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!
Garlic, Onions (incl. chives, onions, leeks, shallots) – Did you know??? Most of the foods we cook with and use during our holiday meals contain onions and garlic – both of which can cause anemia in dogs and cats due to damage to the red blood cells directly? This can cause critical anemia and need for immediate medical care and treatment, possibly blood transfusions.
Gravy, Turkey or Ham – As mentioned above – if garlic or onions are used to season your holiday ham or turkey – please avoid feeding these to your pets. Also as a reminder, the fatty components of these meats as well was the fat/juices from the meat that are used to make your gravy can cause GI signs in your pet, such as vomiting and diarrhea, but can even predispose pets to develop pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) which is a painful condition that requires special treatment.
Turkey or Ham Bones – It seems intuitive that a dog would like to chew on a bone – and they certainly would enjoy it! HOWEVER, bones can cause fractured teeth, and when ingested, can cause GI signs (vomiting, diarrhea) as well as possible obstruction in the intestines, or even perforation of the bowel walls – BOTH of which can cause critical condition in your pets and require emergency treatment and oftentimes surgery.
Macadamia Nuts – Any nut can potentially cause upset stomach in our pets, HOWEVER, macadamia nut ingestion, in particular, can cause clinical signs such as weakness, depression, vomiting, walking wobbly/unstable, tremors, and hyperthermia (high temperature). Please seek veterinary care and consultation if your pet has ingested macadamia nuts!
Chocolate – Holiday chocolates and desserts are very enticing to our pets! Including candy, cookies, cakes, brownies, cooking supplies like cocoa powder, etc. Please remember that ingestion of chocolate can lead to sickness that can vary from mild to severe relating to gastrointestinal (GI) signs, cardiac/heart abnormalities, and neurologic abnormalities. These signs are typically caused by the theobromine and caffeine within the chocolate. Signs include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, increased drinking or urination, hyper-excitability, elevated heart rate, heart arrhythmia’s, tremors, and seizures. Please call us if your pet has ingested any amount of chocolate (sooner the better)!
“Garbage Gut” – This is term we use for blanket term we use describe clinical signs caused by a pet’s ingestion of human scraps and leftovers in the garbage – which can commonly be seen during the holidays! Clinical signs are most commonly related to the gastrointestinal tract, including vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, pancreatitis, and possibly intestinal obstruction if a non-digestible material or bones were ingested. However, if there are any moldy foods in the garbage – neurologic signs can occur such as tremors, hyper-salivation, seizures, etc. If you are noticing any of the above clinical signs, or you know that your dog has ingested the contents of your trash can, please call!
Poinsettia plants – If your pet chews on these plants, they are generally not fatal, BUT can cause significant irritation to gums and mucosa (lining) of the mouth as well as the intestinal tract (esophagus/stomach). Clinical signs include hyper-salivation, vomiting, and diarrhea. If they chew or swallow the plants, treatment and therapy can be instituted to help prevent clinical signs/side effects.
Mistletoe – This plant can cause higher toxicity than Poinsettia plants. Signs can include GI irritation, increased drinking and urination, wobbly walking/instability, low heart rate, hypothermia (low body temperature), difficulty breathing, seizures, coma, and can even be fatal. The minimum amount of ingestion that can be toxic hasn’t been accurately determined at this time. Signs could vary from mild to severe, as mentioned above, so seek veterinary attention if your pet has ingested this plant.
Holly plants – All parts of the holly plant are considered potentially toxic, composed of substances similar to chocolate (caffeine and theobromine) as well as detergent-like substances, and bitter-tasting components. Although these are considered toxic, true toxicoses from ingesting the plant are uncommon. However clinical signs could be GI irritation (vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite) and potentially mild to moderate lethargy and depression.