Pet expert: Food and holidays are not a good mix for pets
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Giving is a holiday tradition, but sharing a tasty treat with a pet can cause injury or illness, says a Purdue University veterinarian.
"During the holidays, most animal-related emergency room visits are due to eating something inappropriate," says Lorraine Corriveau, a wellness veterinarian in the School of Veterinary Medicine. "Some foods cause upset stomachs, some are poisonous and some can cause life-threatening obstructions."
More than 60 percent of pet owners will share holiday meals with their pets, and people who do should follow these guidelines:
* A small amount of white turkey is an acceptable treat, but avoid the skin and bones. The skin is often fatty and can cause pets to develop pancreatitis, a painful pancreas inflammation.
* Poultry bones, especially cooked, have the potential to break off and cause a digestive tract perforation. If large amounts are consumed they can cause an obstruction.
* Avoid choking hazards like grapes and raisins. They also are toxic, as large amounts can lead to cardiac problems.
* Avoid salty foods because sodium is not good for animals.
* Avoid sweets with chocolate or the artificial sweetener xylitol, which are both considered toxic to dogs.
* All leftovers should be secured behind a pet-proof door.
* Keep trashcan lids secure. Many items used in meal preparation, such as turkey string and foil wrappers, may smell like food to a pet.
Corriveau also recommends that pet owners think about holiday decorations that animals may consume such as tinsel, ribbons and decorative plants. Mistletoe and holly can cause vomiting in cats, and lilies are often deadly to cats. Electrical cords also can be dangerous if puppies or kittens chew on them.
"Keep your veterinarian and local animal emergency hospital phone numbers handy," Corriveau says. "A quick call to either of them can give you life-saving advice or even help avoid a trip to the animal emergency room."
Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Lorraine Corriveau, 765-494-7789, email@example.com