The holidays are a very busy time for many people. Cooking, shopping, working, socializing, when time is limited, we tend to overlook or change are normal routine and that is when emergencies happen. Do not let a pet emergency become the focus of your holiday celebration. Following some of the tips below will make the day safe for all.
Have all Emergency Numbers Available: We will be closed Thanksgiving Day to celebrate the 3 F’s, family, food and football. Animal poison control is a very busy place on the holidays. A call can cost you between $49 and $65. It is well worth the cost; these brilliant toxicologists know how to help you and your pet. If your pet’s micro-chip is registered with AKC-reunite, formally AKC-CAR, you can add an unlimited access to the animal poison control for less than $25. For some that have those 4 legged family members that just cannot help themselves by putting everything in their mouths, this is priceless. The following emergency numbers are open and available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year including holidays
ASPCA animal Poison Control: 888 426 4435. A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card.
Pet Poison Helpline: 855 764 7661. A $49 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card.
Red Bank Veterinary Hospital: 732 747 3636
NorthStar Vets: 609 259 8300
Garden State Veterinary Specialists: 732 922 0011
Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in Linwood: 609 926 5300
Guests: If you are having company, for the day or overnight, make sure they are aware of possible dangers to your pets. Medication, cigarettes, batteries, etc. left out, feeding the wrong things, leaving doors open, loud or unusual noises and quick movements. Your pets can be very stressed with all the commotion and need some reinsurance.
The Trash: Remember to empty the inside garbage pails often. Everything that you have thrown in there is just calling your pet’s name. Make sure lids are secured on cans inside and out.
Food Wrappings and Twine: Aluminum foil, wax paper and other food wrappings can cause intestinal obstruction. Foil can even lacerate the lining of the intestines.. Make sure to place these items securely in the garbage.
Stay Out of the Kitchen: Keeping your pets out of the kitchen when preparing the Thanksgiving extravaganza and well away from the table once the food comes out will help the whole family have a comfortable, enjoyable meal. If you are having guests, securing your pet in their crate or in a quiet room will help keep them calm. It will also reduce the chances of them getting loose, helping themselves to the wrong foods, accepting food from a guest and just being stressed by the whole situation.
Turkey: While turkey itself is not bad for your dog, the skin, drippings, bones and fat are. Turkey bones can do so much damage. They can get stuck in the roof of your pet’s mouth, break or chip a tooth or cause an intestinal obstruction, punctures and tears to the intestinal tract and potentially deadly internal bleeding. Fatty, rich, or unfamiliar foods can give your pet pancreatitis or gastroenteritis; two medical conditions that can be very painful and even life-threatening. Black Friday is called Pancreatitis Friday in the veterinary field.
Sage and Stuffing: Sage has a lot of essential oils on the leaves. Excessive amounts of these oils can lead to tummy distress and discomfort in cats. For example, if your cat or dog ate just a little too much sage, they could experience some gastric upset, stomach pain, gas and diarrhea. Central Nervous System-Unusually vast amounts of sage may occasionally even lead to physiological issues within the central nervous system in cats -- in extreme cases. Most stuffing has everything your pet can not ingest, onions, garlic, fat, sage and other herbs, nuts, fruit, etc.
Chocolate: This is typically more of a dog hazard, as many dogs have a sweet tooth, a great nose, and the determination to find chocolate -- hidden or not, but cats may consume chocolate too. The toxic components in chocolate are theobromine and caffeine, and the level of toxicity is based on the type and quantity of chocolate consumed. Different types of chocolate have different amounts of theobromine and caffeine; dark chocolate contains the highest concentrations and white "chocolate" contains the least. Early clinical signs are vomiting, diarrhea and trembling.
Xylitol and Candy: It is potentially very toxic to dogs and ferrets. Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release in most species, which can lead to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). Initial signs of toxicities include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.
Raisins and Grapes: The specific toxin in raisin and grapes is unknown. Some pets only need to eat 1 or 2 raisins and their kidneys can start failing Raisins, grapes, and currants, can cause acute kidney failure in some dogs. While we in the veterinary profession still do not know why some dogs are susceptible, while others are not; we do know though, is that kidney failure is debilitating, expensive to treat, and often fatal. Keep raisins, as well as grapes and currants, well away from your dogs.
Macadamia nuts and Walnuts: The exact toxin and mechanism of action to cause signs of poisoning in some dogs are not known at this time. Another similarity to grapes and raisins is that the individual sensitivity to macadamia nuts appears to vary between dogs as does the amount of nuts needed to cause a toxic reaction. They are high in phosphorous which can lead to bladder stones. The most common presenting sign is weakness and inability to walk, especially in the hind legs. Other signs include: vomiting, staggering gait, depression, tremors and elevated body temperature.
Onions and Garlic: Raw, powdered or cooked, can cause (Heinz Body Anemia) anemia by destroying red blood cells. We were taught when we were younger that garlic helps control fleas. While it’s not as toxic as onions, but can cause anemia over a prolonged period of time.
Corn Cobs: While this is a hazard we usually see during the warmer months, many will have fresh corn cobs or decorative Indian corn on their table. Corn cobs to not break down easily and can cause an obstruction like no other. Wrap corn up in sealed bag before disposing in the trash.
Mushrooms: While there are thousands of species of mushrooms, only a small percentage are toxic. But there is little known about the potential toxicity of many species. Mushrooms reported as edible in Europe have been associated with toxicity cases in North America and vice versa. Toxicity also can depend on underlying health conditions in victims or on other substances they may ingest. Signs generally develop within six hours of ingestion. Common signs to watch for: nausea, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, walking drunk, depression, tremors and seizures. Liver and kidney failure will follow.
Bread and rolls (uncooked dough): When pets (typically dogs) eat uncooked dough containing live yeast, they can suffer a variety of debilitating and possibly fatal problems. After they ingest the live yeast, the dough travels to the stomach where it is warm and moist (the best environment for dough to rise). Three things can happen now. The dough can continue to expand and can result in an obstruction of the stomach, which may require surgery. Another other issue is yeast will convert the sugars in the dough to carbon dioxide and alcohol. The alcohol will start to absorb and can cause alcohol poisoning. The carbon dioxide continues to expand the stomach to the point of discomfort. The carbon dioxide has no way to escape and the patient can go into shock because all essential blood flow has stopped. So please store any bread dough or raw yeast product the microwave or high on a shelf.
Alcohol, Beer and Wine: Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death. Under no circumstances should your pet be given any alcohol.
Sharing our Meal: Many people want to share their feast with their pets, after all, we are thankful for them in our lives. But you must be careful of what is shared and how much is shared. Give just a taste – all in moderation. Large amounts of unfamiliar foods will cause nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea in pets.