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Our Blog: Holiday Foods, Toxins & Our Pets



The holidays are upon us and what a wonderful time of year to share with family, friends and our pets. This is also a very busy time of year, and we must be watchful of what our pets are up to. The holiday season can be a dangerous and toxic season for dogs and cats. We want to take this time and address some of those issues. As much as we like to see our patients, we would rather our clients and patients enjoy their holidays and avoid any pet emergencies.

Let's talk about holiday foods for a minute. While "people food" should not be given to your pet for many reason, some foods are very toxic. Here are some foods to make sure you keep out of reach of your pet; grapes, raisins, currants (fruitcakes), avocados, Xylitol (artificial sweetener found in sugar-free gum, candy, some peanut butters, and many other food items), yeast dough, fatty meat scraps, turkey bones, macadamia nuts, walnuts, coffee/tea (due to caffeine), chocolate (especially dark and baking chocolate), onions and garlic. If you suspect your pet has eaten something and you are unsure of the toxicity, please call our office.

Seasonal house plants as well as plants that last year around is another area that needs to be addressed. Many people do not know that their indoor plants, if chewed on, can cause harm to their pets. In some cases only mild indigestion and discomfort can occur, but in other cases the toxicity can lead to more severe health problems or death. Poinsettia leaves, if ingested, can cause nausea and vomiting however most pets cannot eat enough of it to get a more serious poisoning. Holly and mistletoe are popular during the holidays. These plants and their berries have a greater toxicity than the poinsettia. Lilies, Daffodils and Amaryllis are toxic to pets, especially cats. If you receive any of these for the holidays; keep those out of reach of your pets. The Christmas Cactus is not toxic to your pets but bear in mind the fibrous plant can cause irritation to the stomach and intestine, causing vomiting and diarrhea. The real Christmas tree is another area to watch your pets. The oils produced by fir trees can irritate their mouths and the water used to keep it from getting dry can have bacteria, molds and fertilizers that can cause your pet to become sick quickly.

As you prepare to decorate for the holiday season, consider your pets. Decorations, such as bubble lights and snow globes, can contain noxious chemicals. Recently some imported snow globes have been found to have ethylene glycol (antifreeze) in the water. If the globe is broken and your pet ingests any of the liquid, the consequences could be fatal. The signs of early antifreeze poisoning are poor coordination, excessive thirst/ urination, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and weakness. These signs may improve over the next 8 to 12 hours but internal damage is actually worsening. Immediate treatment is vital. Liquid potpourri and scented oils can be very harmful to your cat. If your cat licks just a tiny bit it can cause severe chemical burns to the mouth, labored breathing and tremors.

If you think your pet has consumed something they shouldn't have contact Gentle Care Animal Hospital at 417-725-2386.



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