Since the holidays often pose many unexpected pet health issues, holistic veterinarian and author, Dr. Carol Osborne, DVM offers a few tips to help ensure your pet’s safety this season, so your holiday doesn’t end in disaster.
Holidays are hectic for all of us and that means stress for pets! To minimize your pet’s stress, try to keep your pets’ diet, snacks and routine as close to normal as possible. Be sure your pet has a quiet place to go so he or she can relax when he’s had enough. This helps avoid behavioral problems, especially with children.
Herbal Stress Remedy: 5 Flowers/Bach’s Rescue Remedy is wonderful, effective and very safe for dogs, cats and people. Place a few drops in your pet’s mouth, food or water bowl to relieve stress and anxiety.
Various combinations of essential oils especially chamomile and blue cypress when formulated for pets are also safe, calming and smell great. Most are applied topically; some may be diffused.
During the holidays, most pet emergencies are due to pets eating something inappropriate. Certain foods cause upset stomachs, others are poisonous, and some can be life-threatening.
Since over 60% of pet owners share holiday meals with their 4-footed family friends here are a few basic guidelines.
Turkey is fine for most pets. Be sure to avoid the skin and bones! Turkey skin is usually fatty and too rich for most pets. Excess fatty foods often lead to upset stomachs along with vomiting and diarrhea. The consequence of repeated episodes of vomiting often lead to inflammation of the pancreas, called Pancreatitis, which if left untreated can result in Diabetes.
TIP: In general, a meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans and a little pumpkin is as healthy for Fido and Fluffy as it is for you!
Poultry bones, especially when cooked, splinter easily and can perforate your pet’s digestive tract or in some cases can block or cause an obstruction of the intestines which requires costly surgery to correct.
Other foods to avoid include grapes and raisins, excessively salty foods, Macadamia nuts, sweets containing Xylitol, and chocolates.
Throw out your leftovers. Having a secure pet proof lid on your trash container helps to eliminate problems with” garbage hounds.” Remember, keep your trash can secure. Many of the items used to prepare festive meals can be dangerous for pets. The turkey string, foil wrappers and more often smell good to pets even after they’ve been tossed out into the trash.
Be sure your pet has a collar and updated ID tags just in case he or she sneaks out the front door and it is always a good idea to provide your pet with a place to retreat from the festivities and enjoy some R&R.
Nervous and overly anxious pets might be happier avoiding large family gatherings, especially if young children are involved.
Holiday Foods & Beverages-that may be toxic to your pet
Don’t allow your pet access to holiday spreads especially. If you’ve got a chowhound.
Alcoholic beverages can cause pets to get drunk, weak, become depressed and they can become comatose.
Yeast Dough – Yeast dough, especially uncooked or raw yeast dough is a problem for dogs. If your dog ingests this, it will rise in your dog’s stomach and causes a painful stomach ache, bloat and vomiting. Dogs can become disoriented and depressed. The breakdown product of rising dough is alcohol, which can cause alcohol poisoning. Many cases require surgical removal of the dough. Even small amounts if eaten can be dangerous to your dog.
Chocolate (bakers, semi sweet, milk & dark) Dogs that ingest chocolate may show signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity and an elevated heart rate. This can occur if a 10-pound dog eats ¼ ounce of baking chocolate. This is not usually a problem in cats.
Tobacco products – Tobacco can be fatal for dogs and cats. Signs of nicotine poisoning usually develop in 15-45 minutes. Symptoms include excitement, salivation, panting, vomiting and diarrhea. Then muscle weakness, twitching, depression, coma, and even cardiac arrest may occur.
Coffee, including ground, beans, chocolate covered espresso beans, contains caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant and signs include pets becoming restless, along with an increased heart rate, tremors and/or seizures.
Macadamia Nuts: can cause muscular weakness, depression, vomiting, disorientation, and tremors stomach pain and muscle stiffness in dogs. This usually lasts from one to three days and most dogs recover without ill effects. This has not been reported to occur in any other species.
Grapes & Raisins: The exact mechanism of action and toxic principal are still being determined by the ASPCA Poison Control Center but eating large amounts can cause kidney failure in dogs and there has been one reported case of kidney failure in a cat that ate raisins.
Watch out for the string used to tie up your turkey or roast as well as the little red “pop up” thermometers. Dogs and cats love to eat these tasty treats which can cause intestinal blockage.
TIP – Don’t give your pet bones! Bones can splinter and lacerate your pet’s intestines. The last thing any pet owner wants to do this Thanksgiving is rush to the animal emergency clinic.
TIP: Turkey contains an amino acid called tryptophan. This is calming to pet, which is why you feel a bit sleepy after eating turkey. If your dog is nervous because of all the festivity, try a little turkey to calm his nerves.
Keep phone numbers for your veterinarian and the local pet emergency center in a handy place. A quick call to either of them can give you life-saving advice or even help you avoid a trip to the ER. The ASPCA Poison Control center is available 24/7 should you need fast answers for potential toxins pets may encounter.
Bookmark www.chagrinfallspetclinic.com for the latest pet health care news and tips for your dog and cat. Integrative veterinarian and author, Dr. Carol Osborne, DVM are available for pet health consultations. To make an appointment for your pet call Dr. Carol toll-free at 1-866-372-2765. Locals may call 440-247-5901