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Football parties and food

It's officially football season, and everyone loves hosting the game. Unfortunately, we see a lot of upset stomachs during the fall because of table scraps and dangerous foods that guests give pets.  

Dogs and cats are used to eating the same food every day. Their gastrointestinal tracts develop natural flora (or bacteria) that specifically digest their regular food. When dogs eat something that they are unaccustomed to, such as nachos and chicken wings, they can develop severe inflammation, vomiting and diarrhea. It can also lead to more serious conditions such as pancreatitis.  

In addition to foreign foods, some foods in large quantities are toxic to our pets, such as grapes, onions, garlic and raisins. Some foods can present a risk for choking, such as:

  • Corn on the cob
  • Fruits with pits
  • Foods with bones
  • Toothpicks or skewers

I have surgically removed all of these items, which can be very costly and stressful. Make sure to talk to your guests, especially kids, before parties and remind them not to feed your dogs any food. You want to enjoy the party too, not spend it looking after a pet with an upset stomach.

Mushrooms

There are certain types of mushrooms that can be toxic for our dogs, causing:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Depression
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Liver and kidney disease

Amanita phalloides is a mushroom found throughout the United States which can be difficult to identify. I tell my pet parents to avoid all mushrooms and consider them toxic until proven otherwise. Make sure to check your yard for any wild mushrooms, and keep a look out when you take your pets for a walk.

Mothballs

Mothballs contain either paradichlorobenzene or naphthalene, which can cause:

  • Vomiting
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Tremors
  • Weakness
  • Possible kidney or liver failure
  • Severe abnormality of your pet’s red blood cells if ingested

If you use mothballs, please make sure they are well out of the reach of your pets.

Antifreeze

Antifreeze has a sweet smell and taste and our pets love to lick it. Antifreeze is extremely dangerous if ingested and is one of the most common forms of poisoning in pets. As little as one teaspoon in a cat or a tablespoon or two for dogs, depending on the size of animal, can be fatal. Signs of early poisoning include acting drunk or uncoordinated, excessive thirst, and lethargy.

Rodenticides

There are several different types of chemicals in mouse and rat poisons, all with different active ingredients. Many of these mouse and rat baits are toxic and can be deadly if ingested. If your dog ingests any rodenticides, bring him to your veterinarian immediately. Try and take the label or box that the rodenticide came with so your veterinarian can assess the active ingredient and whether it is toxic. When placing rodenticides, it is imperative to keep them away from your pets!

Compost bins or piles

Piles of decomposing and decaying organic matter and molding food products in your backyard compost pile have the potential to contain "tremorgenic mycotoxins," meaning molds which cause tremors. Even small amounts ingested can result in tremors or seizures within 30 minutes to several hours.

Pet parents please be aware of these things because we do see a lot of vomiting and upset stomachs at our clinic.  A lot of the time we don't know what the animal got into so having this information is good so we can treat accordingly.  Just knowing you hosted a football party or saw a mushroom in the yard helps us determine how what to do. With the temperatures cooling off it is a wonderful time to be outside with your pet so please enjoy this time of the year, but just keep an eye out for dangers.