It is a warm afternoon on Boxing day. You've just returned home from a crazy morning of shopping only to find that your pet has eaten all the left-over Christmas ham, half a pudding, all of the chocolate Santa's (wrapping and all) and the old roast turkey bones (including a delicious onion and garlic filled stuffing) that you had thrown away the night before. Of course, this is an extreme case. However, it isn't uncommon for our pets to overindulge come the Christmas Holidays and end up at the vet!
The majority of us know that chocolate is toxic to pets but why is this the case?
Caffeine and a substance called 'theobromine' are the culprits. Dogs are not able to metabolise or process this therefore causing vomiting, diarrhoea, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures and an elevated heart rate (depending on the type and amount of chocolate consumed). The more theobromine the chocolate contains, the more severe the toxicity. Baking chocolate and dark chocolate contains more theobromine than milk chocolate,white chocolate contains the least. This is why it's always important to tell us (if possible), the chocolate type and how much was eaten.
Did you know that grapes, sultanas and raisins can also be toxic to dogs causing kidney failure? The reasons for this are still unknown. However, similar symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy can be noted after ingestion.
Whilst tasty to us, foods containing garlic and onion are not advised. These may lead to anaemia (low red blood cells) if ingested in high amounts.
The quicker we induce vomiting in your pet after ingestion of any of the above substances, the quicker we can rid these toxins before any harm can arise.
What about the Christmas ham? This is where fat content can be a concern. Pancreatitis is a painful condition where the pancreas becomes inflamed and it is generally caused by diet and feeding foods that are high in fat. Your pet may experience:
- A sore tummy
- Have a hunched back
- Vomiting or diarrhea.
So, the ham is out too. Surely, the chicken is okay? The turkey? We all know most dogs absolutely love bones. However, cooked bones can quickly turn fatal to your canine. This is because they are not easily digested, are a possible choking hazard, can injure the mouth and teeth and can even cause a blockage in the gut.
We know it's always tempting to give some tasty treats to our pets. Whilst we will never be able to resist the guilt that comes along with refusing to give in to your pet’s puppy dog eyes, there are some much safer alternatives.