No matter where you live or what your religious beliefs, press *7 if your end-of-year festivities includes way too much over-indulging in festive foods.
I thought so….my switchboard’s jammed with your star-sevens.
Though this post is about *food* I’m not going to share my mother-in-law’s recipe for shortbread, or explain why I prefer the British over the American version of Christmas cake, or discuss whether you also believe a cheese fondu the perfect New Year’s Eve dinner, I just want to make you aware – while you’re feasting – that not everything YOU eat is safe for your pets.
In 2009 the ASPA’s Animal Poison Control Center took over 17,000 calls about pets ingesting and being poisoned by “people” food.
Foods that are dangerous for your pet
- Chocolate, coffee and caffeine
- Macadamia Nuts
- Grapes and raisins
- Yeast dough
- Raw/under-cooked meat, eggs and bones
- Xylitol (a sweetener in many products)
- Onions, garlic and chives
- Milk (including yoghurt)
For the ASPCA’s complete list click here
You may not know xylitol in the above list. According to the official xylitol website the benefits of using this sweetener are:
- Delicious sweet taste… with no unpleasant aftertaste
- Helps reduce the development of dental caries
- Reduces plaque formation
- Increases salivary flow to aid in the repair of damaged tooth enamel
- Provides one-third fewer calories than sugar
- May be useful as a sugar alternative for people with diabetes (on the advice of their healthcare providers)
I know that some people use xylitol because it’s a diabetic-safe, good for your teeth sweetener, but I also know that it’s fatally toxic to dogs. Luki, a healthy six-year-old Labrador retriever belonging to my daughter’s friends, Shana and Greg, died about a year ago, shortly after he ate a pie sweetened with xylitol.
Why we are eating something that is so toxic to dogs?
My daughter’s friend Stephanie, who is a vet, knew about the toxicity of xylitol for dogs, and explained that one of the main problems with toxins in foods for pets, is the relative dosage size.
“Chocolate is not more toxic to dogs than it is to people, but when a small dog eats a whole Toblerone which is equal to a human eating ten chocolate bars, he’ll get theobromine poisoning.”
A small human would most probably experience liver toxicity if she consumed a quarter cup of xylitol (which was in the pie), but it wouldn’t be life-threatening.
“While Xylitol stimulates insulin secretion, it seems to do so much more rapidly in dogs than in people, leading to rapid life-threatening hypoglycemia.”
Do you have a package of chocolate-covered-espresso-beans sitting under your Christmas tree? A bowl of grapes on the coffee table? A pie sweetened with xylitol cooling on your kitchen counter?
The ASPCA also lists plants that are poisonous for pets:
- Tulip/narcissus bulbs
- Azalea, rhododendron
- English Ivy
- Peace lily
Click here for the full list.
Last month, our friend Gere had a party to celebrate the anniversaries of the adoption of her dog Chori, our dog MontyCarlo, and her cat Chandini.
She bought a special cake for the animals (in the photo above) from Three Dog Bakery.
I don’t know what kind of cake it was, but when you look at the slice below, it looks like a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.
MontyCarlo couldn’t eat his piece of cake in one gulp, as it was rather “chewy”…
He sat next to the table his tummy bursting, hoping for another slice…
- It’s a good idea to print up the list of dangerous foods for your pet and keep it on your fridge.
- Do you use Xylitol?
- If you leave a cake cooling on your kitchen counter can your dog jump up and get it?
- Are there packages of chocolate under your Christmas tree?
If you think that your animal may have ingested a poisonous substance, contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA 24-hour emergency poison hotline at 1-888-426-4435.