Begging for the Holiday FeastNow that you’ve made it through Halloween, it’s time to turn our attention to the holidays! Before you break out the tinsel, however, keep in mind there are some things you should do to keep the holidays pet friendly.

Animal Kind Veterinary Hospital wants to remind owners that this season can be wonderful for our four-legged family members with a little preparation and common sense.

Toxic Table Scraps

Not coincidentally, the holidays are among the busiest times of year for animal poison control hotlines. This is due to an abundance of food and a shortage of supervision. Owners face an array of distractions when juggling seating arrangements, cooking, cleaning, and other hosting duties.

To keep the holidays pet friendly and to prevent a dangerous food encounter, be especially mindful of the following toxic items:

  • Chocolate
  • Xylitol (a common sugar substitute)
  • Garlic, onions, chives
  • Caffeine and alcohol
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Grapes, raisins, and currants
  • Sugary foods
  • Fatty, rich foods (such as gravy and turkey skin)
  • Even if your pet is overindulged with nontoxic foods, he or she is at risk of gastrointestinal upset or pancreatitis.

    Since it’s perfectly natural to want to include your fur kid in all the feasting, we’re happy to recommend a few healthy snack alternatives.

    About Chocolate…

    Chocolate toxicity is the top food-related cause of pet poisonings each year (98% of which involve dogs). Derived from Theobroma cacao seeds, chocolate contains two chemical compounds that are toxic to animals – theobromine and caffeine.

    Typically, the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. The quantity consumed and the weight of the animal are also influential factors. Signs of chocolate toxicity include:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Agitation or restlessness
  • Increased thirst
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Lethargy
  • Tremor
  • Seizures
  • Because chocolate is a year-round favorite and an ingredient in everything from candy to beverages, it’s nearly impossible to keep it out of your home – especially during the holidays. That’s why it’s important to ensure all items containing chocolate are kept out of your pet’s reach.

    If your pet ingests chocolate or is displaying signs of toxicity, please contact us immediately. Don’t wait for symptoms to emerge. The faster we can determine a course of treatment, the better the prognosis.

    Other Ways to Make Your Holidays Pet Friendly

    Although food is often the biggest temptation for a pet, there are some other DON’TS around décor and the chaos of the holiday season:

  • Keep lit candles, light cords, potpourri, and other inviting items away from pets who are prone to explore.
  • During mealtime and clean-up, pets are often safest when kept in a separate area away from all the action (with their favorite toys, of course).
  • Microchip your pet. The holidays always see a spike in missing pet reports.
  • Make your pet’s holiday special by setting aside an hour or two the morning of a big day for exercise and together time.
  • At Animal Kind Veterinary Hospital, we celebrate and give thanks for our pet patients and their loving families throughout the year. However, we’re especially gung-ho during the holiday season.

    Please let us know if we can answer any additional questions about making the holidays pet friendly.