Pets on Vacation
Many pet owners enjoy taking their pets with them on vacation. While away, there’s always the tendency to overindulge in treats or beverages and share those treats with their furry babies. Some human foods are toxic, some lethal and some human foods can upset their digestive system enough to make them wish you had left them home with the pet sitter.
Foods you should be aware of and never let your pet eat.
Chocolate, coffee, caffeine: These products contain substances called methylxanthines, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate, while white chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines. Baking chocolate contains the highest.
Alcohol: 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.
Avocado: This one actually surprised me, since I’ve heard of people feeding their dogs avocado to give them a shiny coat. But the leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados contain persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs.
Macadamia nuts: Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last approximately 12 to 48 hours.
Grapes and raisins: These fruits can cause kidney failure.
Yeast dough: Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your pet’s digestive system. This can be painful and can cause the stomach or intestines to rupture.
Raw/undercooked meat, eggs and bones: Raw meat and raw eggs can contain bacteria such as salmonella and e. coli that can be harmful to pets. Raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin, which can lead to skin and coat problems. Raw bones can pose choking hazards, and bone splinters can become lodged in or puncture your pet’s digestive tract.
Xylitol: 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.
Onions, garlic, chives: These vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed.
Milk: I have to admit that I let my cat drink out of my cereal bowl once I was done. But pets don’t have significant amounts of lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk), so milk and other milk-based products cause them diarrhea or other digestive upset.
Salt: Large amounts of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium ion poisoning in pets.
While it is a good thing to take your pet to work, to the park the beach or the lake for a couple of hours, extended vacations should be left to the humans while your pet stays in his familiar home environment and on a schedule. They’ll be waiting, tails wagging with big smiles on their faces when you get home.
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