Dangerous Delights: Holiday Treats Your Dog Should Avoid

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Holiday hazards

As the holidays approach, homes begin to fill with holiday treats, treats intended for the humans who live there. Often these same homes host visitors who are not dog-savvy. The result is a scenario that could poison your dog.

a dog and a cat eating the milk and cookies left out for santa

Approximately 100,000 dogs are poisoned yearly, and ingesting people food is the third-largest cause of these poisonings. Canine companions may look cute as they ask politely for a bite of your chocolate cake, or a chip covered in guacamole. It's important to remember that dog metabolism is different from human metabolism. What is perfectly safe for people can be dangerous, and sometimes fatal, for our dogs.

  • Chocolate. Chocolate products contain substances called methylxanthines that can cause vomiting in small doses, and death in larger doses. Darker chocolate contains more of these methylxanthines than do either white or milk chocolate. For smaller breeds, just half an ounce of baking chocolate can be fatal, while a larger dog might survive eating 4 to 8 ounces. Coffee and other caffeinated food and drinks have the same dangerous chemicals as chocolate.
  • Alcohol. Just as for humans, symptoms of alcohol poisoning in dogs may include vomiting, breathing problems, coma, and even death.
  • Avocado. Avocadoes are healthy for humans, but they contain a substance called persin that can act as a dog poison, causing vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Xylitol. This sweetener is found in many products, including sugar-free gum and candy. It causes a rapid drop in blood sugar, resulting in weakness and seizures. Liver failure has also been reported.
  • Macadamia nuts. Dogs may suffer from a series of symptoms, including weakness, overheating, and vomiting, after consuming macadamia nuts.
  • Grapes and raisins. These fruits can induce kidney failure in dogs. Even a small number may cause problems in some dogs.

This holiday, protect your dog from potentially troublesome human treats by monitoring what is available in your home. Be proactive with your visitors and mention the problems that can arise from feeding dogs human treats. When you have done all you can to prevent a poisoning tragedy, relax and enjoy the festive season with your dogs and visitors!

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