Avoiding Holiday Pet Toxins
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This pet care video will help you to be aware of potential holiday dog and cat toxins, such as chocolate and poinsettias. If your pet ingests these substances, it is important that you know what to do. Many holiday plants can be toxic. But the most common holiday problem is when a dog eats chocolate. If your dog ate a toxic amount of chocolate, or you think that your pet may have eaten a toxic plant or food, call your vet immediately and follow their advice.


Dr. Mike: Hello! I’m Dr. Mike. The holiday season is the time of year where people decorate their homes with Christmas trees and holiday plants. Also, this is the time for cooking and baking desserts. Many of which include chocolate. To learn more about their potential toxicities, we’re going to meet with Tim Evans, a veterinary toxicologist at the University of Missouri. Dr. Tim Evans: Well, there’s a lot of concerns around the holidays. Particularly there coming up with the next several months about certain intoxications that are likely to occur. Three common plants that we find during the holidays are poinsettias, holly and mistletoe. Many of these are particularly dangerous to the pet. However, they can cause gastro intestinal upset which will include vomiting and diarrhea. If you see that the dog has consumed one of these plants, you should call your veterinarian right away and talk to them about it. A lot of people know that chocolate is potentially toxic to dogs. But what we need to recognize is those different kinds of chocolate. Milk chocolate are can be potentially toxic particularly to very small dogs. The baker’s chocolate actually has ten times the amount of the toxic principles theobromine so the risk of intoxications is much higher with baker’s chocolate than with milk chocolate. Theobromine has a couple of different effects on the body. The main problem that’s going to cause that can be potentially be lethal is causing cardiac arrhythmia. That’s causes the heart not to beat the way it normally should be. How much is too much. I get a lot of questions people calling about a dog getting into one Hershey’s kiss. It really depends on the size of the dog. A big dog is going to be much less likely to be intoxicated than a very small dog. If your dog gets into a chocolate product, it’s really important to find out how much theobromine that product has in it. One of the things that may be helpful is to either look on the label, the wrapper of the product, or many company for instance the Hershey’s company has a website that you can go to that provide useful information about how much of the theobromine is in that particular product. Another option would be calling the National Animal Poisson Control Center or if you just go to their website, there are some very useful articles on different types of products and potentials hazards within the home that you might want to be aware of. One thing you can certainly always call your regular veterinarian and get his or her advice on what to do. A lot of people are aware of the fact that Macadamia nuts are potentially toxic. We don’t know what the posion is but animals consuming Macadamia nuts can actually have depression, hallucinations and high gland weakness. With many potential intoxications, time is of the essence. So it’s really important if you think your dog or your cat has gotten to something that’s potentially toxic, you should call your veterinarian as soon as possible, follow their directions and get your dog or cat to them so they can evaluate and start treatment if necessary. The first things that your veterinary hospital is going to ask you if you think your dog or cat has gotten into something poisonous, what is the particular compound product or food that your dog or cat got into? Second they’re going to ask, how much do you think your pet consumed? And third, they’re going to ask when your dog or cat consumed that particular product, substance or food. What is some of the potential recommendations that your local veterinarian is likely to make if your pet has gotten into something that’s poisonous? First, they may recommend that your induce emeses or vomiting in your pet but please never do this unless you’ve consulted with your veterinarian hospital first. They may ask that you bring your pet immediately into the veterinary hospital for examination, laboratory test and supportive care such as fluids or products to go ahead and hasten the absorption of the product or illumination of the toxicant from the body. Dr. Mike: Many plants from Christmas trees and poinsettias to holly berry, lilies and mistletoe can be potentially toxic. However the most common problem I see during the holidays is ingestion of chocolate. If you think that your pet may have ingested the toxic plant or food, you should call your veterinarian immediately and follow their advice. Time is of the essence. The earlier you pet is treated the better the prognosis. I hope this information is helpful and thanks for watching.