Welcome to our third blog -- and our third blog about treat dangers. In researching the information about treats from China and toys from China, I also found information about other treats that can be dangerous regardless of their country of origin.
Rawhide, a common treat for dogs, is actually quite dangerous. The Great Dane Angel Network has a great post that covers the information you need. The short version is that rawhide is made with lye, lime and/or bleach (all things your pet shouldn't be eating) and when it is exposed to water, swells. It does not digest thus causing blockages.
While many of us share our food with our pets, there is one that should never be shared: chocolate. (And, no it is not just because you want it all!) Chocolate is dangerous and potentially fatal for dogs. The smaller the dog and the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. A one ounce square of baker's chocolate is a danger to a small lap dog. A bag of kisses might only cause a stomach ache in a larger lab. It takes up to 24 hours for symptoms to show -- rather than wait, call your vet immediately. They will want to know the type of chocolate and the size of the dog. Treatment can include inducing vomiting, feeding activated charcoal and IV fluids. Chocolate is also poisonous to cats but they rarely it eat it as it doesn't taste good to them. By the way, the dangers that chocolate pose to our pets, are also present in the cocoa shell mulch that is available for use in your garden. If your dog spends time in your yard, especially without observation, please use a different type of mulch.
I was surprised to learn that avocados can also be deadly for most pets (so don't share the guacamole!). A few other foods that should not be given to cats or dogs are: almonds, grapes; raisins, onions, rhubarb and mushrooms. Remember that even the largest of our fur kids are smaller than us. When offering a treat -- say a meatball-- realize that for your cat, that meatball is like you eating a bowling ball-sized piece of meat. And if that meatball contains onions, it isn't safe for your pet in the first place! Would you feel you were being mean if you didn't give your allergic child a peanut butter cookie? Your pet understands even less the dangers present in food we enjoy.
Finally, be aware of how your pet toys are made. Cats LOVE string or yarn when we drag it along for them to chase. That said, cats should not be allowed to play with string and we need to dispose properly of string used in cooking to truss the bird. (And unless our Christmas Trees are in cat-free zones, we need to omit the tinsel.) Cats (who are sensible enough to not eat chocolate) don't seem to realize eating string is a bad idea! String, yarn or tinsel can all get knotted up inside, causing painful blockages. If you suspect your pet ate something they shouldn't have, don't try to treat it yourself. Get them to a vet.
I know from this it probably sounds like my pets have no toys or treats. Not true. My friend Susan says when she dies she wants to come back as one of my cats. They get their share of empty boxes to jump in and out of, as well as crumpled paper to chase, string and yarn toys to chase (with us pulling them), pet treats (in moderation) that aren't from China, etc. The dog does even better -- my mom, who is clearly a dog person, makes Amber homemade treats on a regular basis!
Next week's blog will be about heart worm treatment. Cindy was going to share her story of Beaux but has had extra flights this week. Please share your questions or ideas for other blogs below!