Holidays often dangerous times for pets

Candy and wrappers can be tempting for pets. They can also make the animal very sick or kill it.

By Roger Ball
Independent Newsmedia

Chocolate is always around, and it is especially plentiful during the holidays.

Humans love it, and so do their pets—especially the dogs.

The problem for humans eating chocolate might be too much of a weight gain. The problem for pets eating chocolate could be serious illness or death.

“The problem is dogs like to get into packages where chocolate can be found,” said Dr. JoHanna DeKing, Surprise Animal Hospital veterinarian.

Dr. DeKing warns that dark chocolate is very toxic to dogs.

Bad foods

In addition to chocolate, onions and garlic are also toxic for dogs, Dr. DeKing said.

A major problem isn’t poisoning, she warned, but that the pets digestive system has problems digesting new foods.

“Dogs who get food they are not used to often get pancreatitis. The

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pancreas goes into overdrive trying to process the new food, “she explained,

“This is often painful and requires treatment, according to Dr. DeKing.

Jordan Campbell, Glendale resident, said she’s not concerned about what her rescue cat, Scaldi, might get into.

“I just don’t allow any of that stuff into my apartment,” Ms. Campbell said.

What to do?

If it is believed your pet digested something that could be bad for it, the first thing to do, according to the American Veterinary Medicine Association website, is to call the veterinarian’s office. If the office is closed, then contact one of the pet emergency clinics around the area, the website stated.

Holiday food

Gretchen and Kat Campbell-Johnson drove to Sun City West from St. Paul, Minnesota, with their two Bellington Terriers, Agnes and Naki, to celebrate the holidays with relatives.

They said that on Thanksgiving they would give their dogs a couple of pieces of turkey and some sweet potatoes.

“It’s probably OK to give some turkey to your pet,” Dr. DeKing said.

But she wared it should not be served with gravy.

“Sweet potatoes are good, but the potato only—no marshmallows or pecans,” she added.

Dr. DeKing added that dogs can eat canned pumpkins—but not pumpkin pie.

“Smallest amounts are best,” she said.

Sabrina Vanderford, Surprise resident, said she will feed her Pekinese, Suki, turkey, but will not serve gravy with it.

Kathy Paterno, Sun City West resident, says she doesn’t feed her Sheltie, Oliver, people food.

“But he’s king of a thief around the table,” she said.

App for that.

The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a free app for animal owners. The app helps quickly identify over 300 potential everyday hazards to pets. It also provides information about how sever the problem might be and what steps should be taken.

The app is free to download to phones and computers and can be found at the ASPCA website:

Not alone

FOOD is not the only problem for pets around the holidays.

Loud noises, especially on New Year’s Eve, can be very upsetting to animals. Pet owners should be aware if their pets are emotionally upset and offer proper comfort.

Holiday decorations can also cause problems.

The AVMA website warned that many decorative plants are toxic or poisonous to pets, and animals can easily get burned with electric lights and candles.

Playing with tinsel on Christmas trees can be very tempting to cats, the website warned, but a pet can get seriously ill by ingesting them.

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