Pets should also watch their holiday diet |

Pets should also watch their holiday diet

Nadine Lober

Holiday time is here, which means lots of turkey, ham, chocolate and cakes – and the materials in which those foods are wrapped. Some dogs are not picky and will attempt to get a bite of any available food or leftover. And just because the food is on the counter, does not mean it can be snagged by a curious, hungry pet. We therefore need to be aware of the problems that can arise when our pets steal certain kinds of holiday food.First, wrappers have no nutritional value and, depending on the texture, can cause damage to the lining of the stomach and intestinal tract, or even an obstruction. Aluminum foil can cause internal bleeding by scratching the walls of the digestive system. Other wrapping materials may cause constipation, but also may be passed without consequences.Bones, as most of you know, can perforate the intestinal tract or cause abrasions and bleeding. In the wild, canines eat carcasses, raw meat and bones on a regular basis, but the bones are not cooked and therefore, don’t splinter, and the marrow has nutritional value. Canines that get bones lodged in their intestines won’t survive – and it’s survival of the fittest and smartest.Fat, from skin, meat or fried foods, also is not a suitable snack for a pet. Unless, your pet has been eating fatty foods on a regular basis – which is not ideal – then it will be a shock to their system and you risk a case of acute pancreatitis or just diarrhea, with or without vomiting. The pancreas gets inflamed from the work of digesting the fatty meal and revolts. The consequence can be fatal if not treated quickly with intravenous fluids, antibiotics and intestinal coaters.Chocolate also should not to be part of a dog’s diet, though heavier dogs can tolerate more of it before damage is done. A few chocolate chip cookies might not hurt a lab, for instance, but may sicken a Chihuahua. Pure cocoa is more concentrated and is a lot worse than milk chocolate. Just so you know, the theobromine in the chocolate is toxic. It takes about 2/3 ounces to 11/3 ounces of baking chocolate per kilogram of body weight to cause death.The clinical signs of toxicity are vomiting, diarrhea, urination, hyperactivity, cardiac arrhythmia, muscle tremors and coma – so no chocolate.If you must let your pet share a holiday meal, make sure the food you share is free of foil, fat, bones and chocolate. Lean meat and veggies are OK, as it is for us humans. And try not to feed your pet at the table, unless you like to eat your meals with his head in your lap.If you have further questions contact Dr. Nadine Lober at 949-7972.Vail Colorado

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