For all columns with Dr. Anna visit her blog here.
With the holiday season quickly approaching, we are all busy decorating, cooking, and gathering gifts that could be dangerous to your pet. It’s important to be aware of potential poisons and keep them up and away from your pets.
1. Alcohol: Some of us need to drink to put up with our relatives, some drink to celebrate with our relatives and some spike the drinks to get others drunk. Animals are more sensitive to ethanol than people so a small amount can cause significant problems. Drinks spiked with milk products are especially enticing to our pets.
2. Bread dough: When unbaked bread dough containing yeast enters the warm stomach environment it will begin to expand and can cause bloat in your pet. In addition, as the yeast multiplies it produces alcohols which can cause alcohol poisoning in your pet.
3. Chocolate: Theobromide is the poisonous ingredient in chocolate. This chemical is similar to caffeine. The most common symptom with chocolate poisoning is vomiting, diarrhea, agitation and hyperactivity. The amount of theobromide varies depending upon the type of chocolate. For instance, baking chocolates can contain 130-450mg of theobromide/ounce, milk chocolates contain 44-58mg/ounce and white chocolate has 0.252mg/ounce. 4. Nuts: According to VPI, walnut ingestion is one of the most common claims for toxin ingestion. Macadamia nuts contain an unknown poison that can cause neurological symptoms which can persist for 48 hours but is unlikely to be fatal to your pet.
5. Tinsel/String: This is particularly common in cats because the barbs on their tongues cause the string to continue down into their digestive system. Tinsel or string from wrapping paper can cause a string foreign body. The string causes the intestines to bunch together and if left undetected can actually “saw” through the intestinal tract cause more complications.
6. Broken glass: Your pet may step on a piece of broken glass from a Christmas tree ornament or worse; ingest a piece of the glass and cause laceration anywhere along their intestinal tract.
7. Christmas trees: Fir trees contain oils that can mildly irritate your pet’s mouth and cause excessive salivation. Trees are non-digestible items and therefore can cause intestinal obstruction if enough is eaten.
8. Holiday plants: Mistletoe, Holly, Lilly’s and Poinsettia are all poisonous to pets.
9. Grapes and raisins: Grapes and raisins are known to cause kidney failure in dogs. Scientist are still unsure what is in grapes and raisins that causes kidney failure. It’s also interesting to note that some dogs can eat grapes or raisins without causing any harm while other dogs only eat a few and develop life threatening disease.
10. People food: Some fruits and vegetables are appropriate to feed your pet but food from your plate is a big no no. Food from our plates is usually much higher in fat and can cause pancreatitis.
11. Electrical cords: House and tree lights equals more electrical cords that your pets have access to. Electrocution can cause severe mouth burns, pulmonary edema and even death.
12. Candy: Sugar free candy containing xylitol is especially dangers to your pet. Ingestion of xylitol can cause a rapid decrease of blood sugar in your pet which can lead to seizures and death. Please e-mail me with your questions at ACoffin@aol.com and put “Ask Dr. Anna” in the subject line or mail your questions to 123 West Harrison Guthrie, OK 73044.