The holiday season is approaching and with it comes an influx of pet problems that could have been avoided for most of our patients. Most issues we see are due to feeding table scraps. Some of the most problematic foods animals ingest around the holidays include:
o Chocolate – baker’s chocolate is the worst, followed by semi-sweet, then milk chocolate. A small amount of Bakers chocolate can be fatal to a small dog.
o Fatty foods – some animals do not tolerate fatty foods well (gravy, meat trimmings, bacon, etc) and we see a lot of vomiting and diarrhea (and pancreatitis) from these foods. Depending on the severity of signs, sometimes hospitalization is required.
o Onions, garlic, macadamia nuts, grapes and raisins are all toxic and should not be fed at all.
o Yeast dough ingestion is a little less common but can cause big problems
Plants can be an issue as well. Lilies (certain species) can be fatal to cats if ingested. Mistletoe, holly, and poinsettias can all cause mild GI upset and should be kept out of reach of pets.
Christmas decorations including ribbon or tinsel, glass ornaments, and electrical cords should all be out of reach for all pets. If ingested, sometimes surgery is needed to retrieve the material. Electrical cords can easily burn a pet’s mouth if chomped on.
If you think your pet could have consumed something it should not have, call your veterinarian immediately. If your veterinarian is not open you should call an emergency veterinary facility. In some cases vomiting can be induced before you come in (however ALWAYS call first – in some cases it can be detrimental to induce vomiting!) You can also call the Pet Poison Hotline at 1800 213-6680. They are available 24/7.