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A warning about holiday food and pets

November 24, 2008 |  2:01 pm

Pug puppy We are about to enter the high-calorie season and veterinarians around the country are warning pet owners: Do not feed Fido table scraps!

Here's one take on the subject, written by Dr. Greg McGrath and published in the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Feeding dogs and cats foods they are not accustomed to can cause a number of problems, from simple vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, to intestinal obstruction or perforation or pancreatitis. The most serious offenders are fatty handouts such as meat trimmings, bones and spicy dishes. We also seem to see many dogs that develop GI problems after eating tomato-based foods.

MSNBC reminds us that chocolate can be poisonous:

The toxicity depends on the type of chocolate (the darker the chocolate, the more harmful), the amount ingested and your pet’s weight. The caffeine and theobromine in chocolate can cause a dog to vomit, have diarrhea, experience rapid heartbeat, increased urination, muscle tremors and seizures.  The effects can be serious, and chocolate toxicity can occur within 24 hours. The same can be true of coffee, tea and cola, as they also contain caffeine.

And, finally, the California Poison Action Hotline weighs in:

  • Don't feed your pets alcohol or illicit drugs. It is dangerous. Many pets have had to be treated at an emergency vet clinic because of the foolishness of their owners.

  • Have the phone number of your veterinarian and the emergency vet number posted. Keep the poison center number handy. If you suspect pet poisoning, do not wait to call. Prompt attention may make a crucial difference in your pet's health.

  • To make your dog vomit at home (under the direction of a health professional), use 3% household hydrogen peroxide. Have a bottle on hand and always call before using it.

Yes, this Thursday is Thanksgiving, but the experts want us to keep the turkey on the table and the kibble in the bowl on the floor.

-- Alice Short

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