We all love the holidays. Getting together with the family, watching sports together and of course the great food. It’s hard during these times not to include the family pet in the festivities. One important thing to remember is many of the foods that we enjoy during this time have the potential to make our pets sick. Keeping the goodies away from your dogs or cats is another way to help them stay healthy for the holidays.
Although our pets are able to eat many of the same things we can, our veterinarians in Tampa urge you not to share with them. Primarily, since they are not eating these foods on a regular basis, the potential for conditions such as gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines) are very high. Symptoms usually begin with vomiting and diarrhea and if left untreated, can cause dehydration and potential organ failure. In some cases, the inflammation becomes so severe that the bacteria from the intestinal lumen enter the bloodstream and sepsis (blood infection) develops. Luckily this happens in extreme cases but if symptoms persist long enough in mild cases, the possibility exists. Treatment for these conditions can be as simple as fasting for 24 hours to allow the inflammation to subside but often medications are necessary to help settle down the inflammation and associated symptoms. In extreme cases, your pet may require hospitalization for IV fluids to help combat dehydration and receive IV antibiotics.
Our animal hospital sees many of these cases throughout the year but holiday times seem to have a bump in this condition. Once again, our vets in Tampa recommend not feeding your pet table scraps to help lessen the chance of developing gastroenteritis. Unfortunately, your pet may be able to con one of your guests into sharing their food so be on the look out for any decrease of appetite, vomiting or diarrhea. If seen, contact your vet immediately so we can begin treatment before things worsen.