Holiday Poo-pla Hoopla
By Nancy Moser, DVM
The Holidays are a wonderful time of year, where everyone gets together to share good times and rich, delicious food. It’s easy to see how people can get carried away and want to share their food with their pets. However, feeding these foods to your pets can potentially have serious consequences. Common holiday dish ingredients like garlic, onions, raw potatoes, grapes and chocolate, are toxic to dogs but there is also a medical condition, called pancreatitis that veterinarians commonly see this time of year.
Pancreatitis is a general term for inflammation of the pancreas, the organ that secretes enzymes to help digest food and produce natural insulin. Commonly seen in dogs, the most common trigger for pancreatitis is ingesting rich, fatty foods; though less common in cats, pancreatitis can be seen with giving excessive carbohydrates. Severity of symptoms can range from mild GI upset, like vomiting & diarrhea, to severe abdominal pain, sepsis and intestinal perforation. A majority of pancreatitis cases can be managed with outpatient therapy but in pets with more severe symptoms, multiple days of intensive hospitalization may be required, with the potential for a fatal outcome.
Since we cannot predict which pets will develop pancreatitis or the severity of their symptoms, it is best to err on the side of caution and avoid feeding them table food altogether. Plain carrots, blueberries, seedless apples, and cooked non-seasoned sweet potatoes are healthy treat alternatives if you still would like your pet to participate in the Holiday festivities.