At 417 Pet Sitting we are here to care for your pets, but more importantly, we want to provide peace of mind. With the impending influx of friends, family, and the inevitable dispensary of baked goods, confections, alcohol, and rich foods it is best to be aware of some of the toxins to our furbabies and why. A lot of times we equate food with love, but it is actually the exact opposite! Unless your guests are pet owners as well, they might not be aware of the lurking dangers either, so feel free to share with friends and family BEFORE they arrive, or even leave a print out in the kitchen. Some of the main ones the Poison Center warns of are below.
One of the big ones is Alcohol, because alcohol is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, it affects pets quickly. Ingestion of alcohol can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure, and body temperature. Intoxicated animals can experience seizures and respiratory failure. Additionally, foods such as desserts containing alcohol and unbaked dough that contains yeast should be kept away from pets as they may result in alcohol toxicity, vomiting, disorientation, and stomach bloat.
Next on the hit list is the delightful variety of baked goods, chocolate confections, and other rich, fattening foods. However, it is not wise (and in some cases is quite dangerous) to share these treats with your pets. Keep your pet on his or her regular diet over the holidays and DO NOT let family and friends sneak in treats. Be extra mindful of little ones who tend to be closer to the ground and walk around with treats in their hands. Foods that can present problems:
- Foods containing grapes, raisins and currants (such as fruitcakes) can result in kidney failure in dogs.
- Chocolate and cocoa contain theobromine, a chemical highly toxic to dogs and cats. Ingestion in small amounts can cause vomiting and diarrhea, but large amounts can cause seizures and heart arrhythmias. Especially in high end chocolates that are not as diluted as cheap chocolate.
- Macadamia nuts can cause a short-term hind-limb paralysis, and bread dough, if eaten before baking, can expand rapidly once ingested and cause ethanol poisoning.
- Many sugarless gums, peanut butter, and candies contain xylitol, a sweetener which is toxic to dogs. It causes a life-threatening drop in blood sugar and liver failure almost instantly.
- Leftover, fatty meat scraps can produce severe inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) leading to abdominal pain, vomiting and bloody diarrhea.
- Although small amounts of onions and garlic are often used in pet foods and treats to add flavor, ingestion of large amounts can cause severe red blood cell damage; cats are especially sensitive.
Last but not least, be careful when filling your house with the smell of nutmeg or pine for the holidays, while it may seem inviting to heat your scented oils in a simmer pot, know that they can cause serious harm to your cat; even a few licks can result in severe chemical burns in the mouth, fever, difficulty breathing, and tremors. Dogs aren’t as sensitive, but it’s still better to be safe than sorry—so scent your home with a non-toxic candle kept safely out of kitty’s reach. That being said, again be mindful of little hands, tall dogs, and wagging tails.
When it comes to the holidays, the best thing a pet owner can do is get educated on common household toxins and pet-proof your home accordingly. If you think your pet has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian, the Springfield Emergency Vet at 417.860.1900 or Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680 with any questions or concerns.