Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Thanksgiving Holiday Dangers to Avoid to Keep Your Pets Safe!
  • Grapes, raisins, and currants: Currants and raisins are commonly found in stuffing, baked goods, and as snacks. When ingested, these fruit from the Vitus sp. can result in severe acute kidney failure. Signs of poisoning often don’t show up for days, until kidney failure has already taken place.
  • Onions, leeks, chives, and garlic: When ingested, these common kitchen foods from the Allium sp. can result in oxidative damage to the red blood cells, making these cells more likely to rupture (e.g., hemolyze).  Cats are especially sensitive, and can develop a severe anemia (low red blood cell count) from even small amounts. Thankfully, this is typically seen more with chronic ingestion (e.g., when they are eating it for days), but to be safe, keep these out of reach. 
  • Xylitol: If you have any calorie-counting chefs in the kitchen (I mean, really, why bother on this holiday?!), you may want to verify if they’ve used any xylitol in the baked goods. Xylitol, a natural sugar-free sweetener, is a sugar substitute used in a ton of products nowadays: gums, mints, mouth washes, nasal sprays, chewable vitamins, baked goods, chocolate, etc. When ingested by dogs, it can result in a massive insulin spike, causing a life-threatening hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and even liver failure with higher doses.
  • Fatty table scraps: While I’m guilty of feeding my own dog table food (and yes, he gets to lick the dinner plate when I’m done), I’m savvy about what is healthy or not. Fatty table scraps like gravy, turkey skin, etc. are potentially dangerous to your dog, as it can result in severe pancreatitis. Certain breeds are especially sensitive, including miniature schnauzers, Shetland sheepdogs, and Yorkshire terriers. Even a piece of bacon can trigger pancreatitis in dogs, so when in doubt, don’t feed it to your dog or cat! 
  • Bones and turkey legs: Huge no-no. While you may think you’re giving your dog a treat, you’re actually putting him at risk for a possible foreign body obstruction. I’ve seen the rare dog die from getting a chunk of bone stuck in the esophagus. The bones can also get stuck in the stomach or intestines, potentially resulting in a perforation (or rupture) of the intestines.
  • Unbaked bread dough: About to throw some fresh bread in the oven? Make sure your dog doesn’t eat the unbaked dough first. When this occurs, your dog’s stomach acts as an artificial oven, making the yeast rise and release carbon dioxide, causing a distended abdomen and potential life-threatening gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). Next, the yeast and sugar in the unbaked dough are metabolized to alcohol, resulting in secondary alcohol poisoning in your dog. 
  • Alcohol: As mentioned above, we can see alcohol poisoning from weird sources (e.g., unbaked bread dough, rum-soaked fruitcake, etc.). Likewise, dogs can be poisoned by ingesting alcohol drinks, so keep the mixed drinks and beer away from your dog. Accidental ingestion can cause severe coma, slowed respiration, and a life-threatening low blood sugar in your dog.

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