During the holiday season, it is tempting to share our yummy food with our pets. Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, yum yum yum. But is this the best choice for your pet? Although they get really excited, jump up and down, and give you those eyes that are hard to refuse, caving in and giving your dog or cat table scraps can be a very bad idea and this is why…
Dietary indiscretion – When your pet eats something they aren’t supposed to. This can lead to a really bad tummy ache, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased energy and appetite.
Foreign body obstruction– When your pet eats something like a toy, sock, bone (ie: chicken bones, ribs, steak bone), rock, or other foreign material that blocks food from moving through the GI tract. They tend to be lethargic, vomit, won’t eat, they can have diarrhea, and it can be extremely painful for your pet. The treatment is to remove the foreign object surgically. If you don’t get it removed, the GI tract can rupture, causing a severe infection in their abdomen, which they
can die from.
Pancreatitis – inflammation of the pancreas is very painful. Most commonly, this is seen with eating a lot of high fat foods but can be seen in animals that get a lot of treats. Vomiting, diarrhea, refusing to eat, and pain in the abdomen are common signs for this. The treatment for this can be very expensive, and in severe cases, can cause death.
Toxicities – Chocolate, especially dark chocolate or cocoa powder, is very dangerous for dogs and cats. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, neurologic symptoms (hyperactivity, tremors, seizures), and at high enough doses, death. If your pet ingests any chocolate, let
your veterinarian know as soon as you can so they can help either get it out of their system or treat them.
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that can be used as a sugar substitute. It is used commonly in chewing gum but can also be used in baking. This can cause severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which may result in vomiting, lethargy, and neurologic symptoms (ataxia, seizures). Xylitol can also cause liver damage or failure. This also can be treated by your veterinarian, but if left untreated,
can cause death.
Please be careful with your pets around during the holiday season and learn to recognize early signs of something wrong with your animal. Most commonly, vomiting and diarrhea are seen with all of these things, so if you are seeing these symptoms contact your veterinarian. To be safe, just don’t feed them your food!