Holiday Foods and Pet Safety
The holidays are just around the corner and that means family, fun, and food…lots of food. Our pets usually don’t have a problem with the first two, but food during Thanksgiving and Christmas can pose real dangers. We typically see an increase in pancreatitis around the holidays. (Pancreatitis is a life-threatening condition causing inflammation of the pancreas, resulting in pain and swelling.) This is usually the result of people deciding it’s okay to celebrate the holidays by sharing their meals with a favored furry friend. Of course, some savvy pets can get pancreatitis by eating their fatty holiday meal straight from the garbage can when no one is looking.
Symptoms of Pancreatitis
The most common symptoms of acute pancreatitis in dogs are loss of appetite, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Other symptoms you may notice include:
- Swollen abdomen
- Abnormal posture; arching of the back
If your pet exhibits any of these symptoms, especially if you suspect they have eaten any of these dangerous foods, call the clinic at 967-7383 and come see us immediately.
Foods Your Pet Should Avoid
As much as we love our pets, feeding them certain foods can be dangerous. This is especially important with fatty foods because dogs have a harder time digesting them. Turkey skin and gravy might sound like a harmless treat, but even in small amounts these are dangerous.
It is also important to avoid poultry bones. They can easily splinter and cause damage to your pet’s digestive tract.
Other holiday foods that are harmful to your pet include:
- Chocolate – contains caffeine and theobromine. Both are toxic to pets
- Grapes and raisins – toxic and hard to digest
- Onions - causes red blood cells to burst in cats and dogs and can lead to hemolytic anemia
- Nuts – hard to digest, high in fat, and can cause blockage
- Dough and yeast – causes painful gas and dangerous bloating
- Alcohol – toxic to pets
- Nutmeg - contains a mild hallucinogenic which can cause seizures, tremors, central nervous system problems
- Milk –can cause diarrhea and digestive problems
Sneaking your pet any of these foods from the table is definitely not a good idea. Make sure you and your holiday guests know the dangers of these foods and only feed your pets healthy, pet approved snacks.
Keep Trash Away From Your Pet
If your pet is a known counter surfer or trash can diner, make sure you monitor these areas closely. Pets who get into the garbage may also end up eating non-food items like paper, plastic, or string. These items can cause blockage and intestinal damage.
We want your pets to be healthy and happy this holiday season. Make sure they eat only pet safe food and treats.
Pet Health Network
Julie Grimes, DVM
Melissa Joseph Miller, DVM