Tis the season to be jolly! The holidays can be a dangerous time of year for your pets. Use these tips to help keep your furry friends happy and safe during your holiday festivities.
Try to avoid sharing holiday snacks with your pets. Many pets cannot handle diet changes which can lead to intestinal upset, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea or worse. Some foods we love during the holidays can even be toxic to your cats and dogs. These include alcohol, chocolate, caffeine, grapes and raisins, macadamia nuts, onions, garlic, raw meat and bones, xylitol (sweetener) or raw yeast dough.
Many holiday decorations can be hazardous to your pet's safety. Make sure your Christmas tree is secure to prevent injury. Also, avoid letting your pets drink the tree water or eat fallen needles. Poinsettias, mistletoe and holly can all be toxic to cats and dogs. Be very careful when using tinsel and strings as cats are often attracted to them. If ingested, they can lead to GI obstructions. Also, make sure candles and wires are secured to avoid potential burns or fires.
Some pets can develop anxiety if there are changes to their normal routines. During celebrations there are often unfamiliar friends and family. Try sticking to their normal feeding and exercise schedule as consistently as possible. Allow your pets to retreat to a quiet, safe place when visitors are present.
We wish you all a happy holiday season!
Dogs Like Chocolate
Chocolate is just so good! It's all over the house, especially during the holidays like Halloween, Christmas, and Easter. We see a large increase of calls from dog owners whose dogs have overindulged in some chocolate left within reach of their noses. Some dogs will only have the opportunity to get one piece, while other dogs will eat an entire bag until it's gone.
What's So Bad?
Chocolate comes from roasted Theobroma cacao. These seeds contain caffeine and theobromine--both of which can be toxic to dogs. There is a wide range of medical issues related to this toxicity beginning with upset tummy and ending in death by chocolate. Some of the signs and symptoms of chocolate toxicity are:
--Increased body temperature
--Low blood pressure
Which Type of Chocolate?
The toxicity level is directly related to the type and amount of chocolate ingested. Generally, the more "pure" the chocolate is, the greater the chance for toxicity. Some examples of chocolate and their toxicity levels are:
--Milk Chocolate: can become toxic when ingested at 0.7 ounces per pound of body weight.
--Semi-sweet Chocolate: Can become toxic when ingested at 0.3 ounces per pound of body weight.
--Baking Chocolate: Can become toxic at levels of 0.1 ounces per pound of body weight.
If your pet has ingested chocolate and you may need to reference a toxicity meter for dogs, click here for one from PetMD.
What Do I Do?
If your pet has ingested chocolate, you should call your veterinarian immediately. You will need to be able to tell them what kind of chocolate and how much chocolate your dog ingested. If your veterinarian advises you to bring your pet in, they will probably want to run some bloodwork to test for organ function or theobromine levels. An ECG may be necessary to check the heart for any abnormalities. Your veterinarian may also recommend initiating IV Fluid therapy to help minimize the effects of the toxicitiy.
You should always treat chocolate ingestion as an emergency and at the very least call your veterinarian for advice. The earlier the treatment is initialized the better chance for complete recovery.
The Basics of Diabetes
Our pets tend to suffer from many of the same diseases we do. One particular disease cats share with us humans is Diabetes Mellitus, where the body is unable to produce enough or respond appropriately to the hormone insulin. The result of this inability is extremely elevated glucose levels. Several risk factors for diabetes are obesity, inactivity, increasing age, and glucocorticoid therapy.