Picture this: Halloween has come and gone and all at once, it’s that time of year again. Time to gather the family at a dinner table adorned with all the Thanksgiving favorites. Right in front of your plate sits the turkey in all its golden glory. To your left, you have mashed potatoes and freshly baked rolls. To your right sits the stuffing and gravy, behind you is a table filled with pies, bread pudding, and cakes.You raise your glass to toast to the holiday and all that comes with it. The smells mix together as you breathe them in, ready to see if everything tastes as good as they smell. You hear a tail thumping the floor as if your fluffy friend is just as ready. But what your good boy doesn’t know is that all those things that are making his nose twitch are actually incredibly toxic to him.
Before you get down to the business of filling your plate, you suggest a toast to celebrate coming together for this meal. But as the drinks are poured and the cheers ring out, it’s important to remember that alcohol is incredibly toxic to your pet. Alcohol poisoning is especially common in dogs and cats during holiday months as drinks and well wishes are passed around. Unattended drinks often fall prey to the wandering eye of your four-legged family members. Alcohol can be absorbed through their digestive tract or through their skin and if enough is absorbed, can cause a heart attack which can be fatal. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning are depression, involuntary release of the bowels, decreased body temperature, delayed reflexes, as well as slowed breathing and heart rate.
With the drinks flowing, keep in mind that acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin are all toxic to your pets as well.
It’s time to start filling up your plate. You reach for one of the freshly baked dinner rolls, mere minutes out of the oven. The soft dough looks harmless, but in its raw uncooked state can be deadly. Before dough becomes bread, yeast is lethal to your pets because it transforms sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide, which can expand in the stomach and cause bloating. Bloat is one of the leading causes of death in dogs with nearly 30% of cases ending in fatality but it can be managed if treated immediately. Symptoms of bloat are unsuccessful vomiting attempts, abnormal behavior, restlessness and anxiety, hunched appearance, bloated abdomen, discolored gums, flatulence, coughing and gagging, and licking of the air.
You decide to reach for the main attraction next. Let’s talk turkey. It may be the leading role on your plate, but every bit of the turkey is dangerous to your pet. Turkeys are able to support flight by their hollow bones. But that means that if the bones are swallowed, they can easily splinter during digestion, leading to severe damage to your pet’s intestines. It can also cause an infection or an intestinal blockage, both potentially lethal. Intestinal blockages almost always require emergency surgery. Symptoms of blockages vary by the location. Throat blockages will manifest in excessive licking of the lips or immediate vomiting. Vomiting a few hours after eating is indicative of a stomach blockage, whereas vomiting paired with diarrhea and a bloated stomach are signs of a small intestine blockage.
Just as poisonous are the skin and drippings. They can cause a plethora of stomach issues, including vomiting, diarrhea, internal injury, and even pancreatitis. Pancreatitis occurs when enzymes are activated prematurely instead of when they reach the small intestine. This can cause destruction in the pancreas and the surrounding internal organs and tissues. Older and overweight dogs are more vulnerable to developing pancreatitis, but can be treated with immediate medical care. Symptoms of pancreatitis include vomiting and diarrhea, hunched back, bloated stomach, fever, and lethargy.
You fill the remaining spots on your plate with a heaping spoonful each of mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy. If made with onion, garlic, or chives, the stuffing can be toxic as well.
The Final Course
You’ve cleaned your plate of everything but the last of the crumbs and it’s finally time for the last course. The best course. Dessert. You help clear the table and grab a fresh plate, off to peruse your choices. There are pies galore, pumpkin and chocolate and pecan. There are cheesecakes and your favorite, bread pudding. You take a little of each and settle back into your chair, ready to feast again. You feel a nudge on your leg and you look down into the pleading eyes of your four-legged best friend. Alas, the danger lies here too. Chocolate is a well-known enemy to your pets, but there are others that dwell here. The artificial sweetener xylitol, along with the raisins that make your bread pudding so sweet. No Thanksgiving treats for your good boy.
Knowing what dangers exist is the first step in keeping your pets safe. Being extra vigilant that what is on your plate and in your glass stays there is key to keeping your pets healthy and happy. If you ever think your pet might be suffering from any of these ailments, give us a call immediately so we can assess what needs to be done to ensure your pets stay as healthy and happy as possible.