With the holidays upon us soon we will be busy with visitors and festive events. Often overlooked in all the hustle and bustle is the health and safety of our best friends. The holidays are packed full of dog (and cat) hazards from things as obvious as an open flame to things that are less obvious like tinsel ingestion. With a little thought put into decoration placement and food safety we can all have a fun and safe holiday devoid of expensive preventable vet bills.
My dear sweet mini Australian Shepard Toby is often my example of a good dog that likes to eat! Toby arrived at my house as a foster over 5 years ago. He was 11 months old and very timid and fearful of humans. Since then Toby has completed a ton of training and is now a totally different dog. But one lasting bad behavior has persists, he is a terrible food thief and unfortunately a very cleaver one! Last year while enjoying a lovely Christmas holiday at the beach Toby managed to steal a whole 70% pure cacao gourmet chocolate bar! Oh boy did he look pleased with himself. After a call to the vet it was decided to induce vomiting, which I had never done before. I think we were both a little traumatized but he did expel enough chocolate to avoid a night at the vet. Despite a little poor coordination Toby did make a full recovery as usual.
Chocolate is a tricky toxin in dogs, most of the chocolate we have around our houses is of a lower risk in causing a significant medical emergency. Milk chocolate has a lower cacao content and therefor is less dangerous for pets than dark chocolate. The tricky part though is often establishing just how much chocolate they ate. I always recommend calling your vet if they eat anything poisonous, chocolate is no exception.
Here is a list of the most common holiday pet ingestion dangers;
Alcohol; Pets will often try to sneak a drink of our ‘adult beverages’. Alcohol is more dangerous the more they the ingest (as is true in most poison ingestion). Alcohol effects the central nervous causing staggering, depressed breathing and cardiac arrest. If you suspect that you dog has helped him or her self to your drink OR if your dog is acting differently, call your vet as soon as possible.
Holiday plants; Holly, mistletoe, Poinsettia and yew are all of concern if your pet ingests them! Yew and holly often find their way into our holiday wreaths. While holly is more of a throat/intestine puncture issue Yew is often used in holiday wreaths, the Japanese yew (Taxus cuspidate) has been dubbed “the tree of death.” Yews contain potent cardiotoxins — taxine A and B — which antagonize (block) the calcium and sodium ion channels in the myocardium. Vets see some severe issues after large yew ingestions including heart rhythm issues and gastroenteritis and even death. So keep wreaths and other plan containing decorations out of pets reach!
Holiday foods; including cooked bones, fatty rich food and turkey skin can be hazardous to your best friends too. Cooked bones can splinter and puncture when swallowed. Fatty rich foods can cause stomach upset and issues like pancreatitis. If you feel like you want to offer your pets special treats during the holidays it’s always best to stick to store bought treats or make your own dog treats!
We wish you a warm, happy, safe holiday,
From all of us at Central Bark!