Protecting Your Pet From Holiday Hazards

December 5th, 2016

While the holidays can be the most festive season for us, they can also be a hazardous time of year for our four-pawed family members. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to help make sure your dear dog or cat enjoys a healthy, happy holiday season.

Dangerous Holiday Foods

With the holidays comes a cornucopia of delicious foods. Unfortunately, some of our favorites can be dangerous or even fatal for the furry ones in the house. The first step to protecting your pet from food poisoning is keeping them on a regular diet and cautioning your guests against sharing their food with anyone who has more than two legs.

These are especially dangerous foods for dogs:

Chocolate: Chocolate contains a chemical compound called theobromine, which can be severely toxic for dogs. Depending on how big your pooch is, how much chocolate they eat and how pure the chocolate is, (generally, the purer the chocolate, the greater the risk of toxicity) their symptoms could range from vomiting, diarrhea, fast heart rate, restlessness and hyperactivity, to increased urination, muscle spasms and seizures. If you suspect your dog has gotten into the chocolate, take them to the vet immediately.

Sugar-Free Pinwheel Peppermints and other Xylitol-Containing Items: If your dog eats the sugar-free version of this classic, red and white hard candy or anything containing xylitol, including  certain kinds of gum, toothpaste and baked goods, rush them to the vet immediately because xylitol poisoning can be fatal. Fortunately, symptoms happen very quickly after ingestion so you should be able to get your pooch the help they need to get back on their paws in no time. Vomiting is generally the first symptom, followed by decreased activity, weakness, staggering, loss of coordination, collapse and seizures. Some dogs develop more severe complications, including liver failure and bleeding disorders.

Fat Trimmings and Bones: You (and your dog) may see no harm in sharing some of the trimmings, but your dog’s body will beg to differ. Cooked or uncooked fat can cause pancreatitis in dogs. Also curb your urge to give your dog a bone, as bones are a choking hazard and if they splinter, can cut your dog’s digestive tract.