Health Advice to Keep Your Pets Lucky – and Healthy – This St. Patrick’s Day
The Luck of the Irish isn't something to count on to protect your pets on St. Patrick's Day. Whether you have a full-blown party or a quiet dinner at home, your March 17 celebration could unintentionally harm your pet.
It's natural to want to celebrate with tasty treats, decorations, parades, and involve beloved pets in the fun. The problem, of course, is that we may unwittingly put our pets in harms' way. We don't mean to, of course, but we become so accustomed to thinking of pets as family members we occasionally forget that, well, they're not human.
Monitor these festive St. Patrick's Day foods, festivities and decorations to ensure your pets stay safe on the holiday.
The first potential St. Patrick's day hazard is green beer. Even non-beer lovers expect plenty of green brew to flow on St. Patty's Day. People who sip beer in moderation know it impacts our livers and inhibitios but likely won't do any major damage. It's different for pets.
According to Denise Petryk, DVM, MBA, in-house veterinarian with Trupanion, a pet insurance company. “Alcohol affects a pet's liver just as it does in humans, but it can do a lot more damage and quickly with symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting, difficulty breathing and even death,” she said.
If your pet shows any such symptoms, immediately seek help from a veterinarian. Also, it's wise to keep pets away from bottles, cans, glasses and inebriated celebrants, who might inadvertently harm your pet, too.
SHAMROCK COOKIES AND TREATSJack L. Stephens, DVM, founder of Pets Best, the first pet insurance company which also distributes through Farmers Insurance,
Most of us enjoy munching on fancy green cookies and candies, thinking nothing of leaving them out for guests to enjoy. But even if we don't feed our dogs, cats and other pets, the chocolate-covered strawberries, green-frosted cookies, and other treats, they can easily snatch them off a table or out of the trash.
Jack L. Stephens, DVM, founder of Pets Best, the first pet insurance company which also distributes through Farmers Insurance, underscored that chocolates and other foods can be toxic to animals. “The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is,” he said. “For example, a 20-pound animal would need to eat 8.2 ounces of milk chocolate, or just 0.9 ounces of baking chocolate to achieve a toxic dose.”
Clearly you should immediately contact emergency assistance if your pet ingests chocolate or foods you even suspect could be hazardous. For some ideas of the most dangerous human foods for pets, check out this list from HerePup.com.
CORNED BEEF, CABBAGE AND SAUSAGE
Don't let enthusiasm for such traditional Irish foods lead you to give your pets a taste no matter how much they beg, said Ari Zabell, Sr. Director of Client Experience and Advocacy, for the national Banfield Pet Hospital organization.
“When our pets get into our table scraps, broiler juices, or even into a tasty smelling garbage can, it can expose them to risks ranging from a simple upset stomach with vomiting and diarrhea to something more life threatening like pancreatitis,” he said. “Any time that new food or candy is in the house, it can create a situation where our pets might eat it. Most people food can cause at least an upset stomach and diarrhea for our pets, but things like candies, lollipops, or even fruit arrangements with sticks can cause even bigger problems if we aren't careful enough to keep them away from our pets.”
Want your pet to wear a green costume that matches yours? That may be ok but keep it simple – no elaborate belts, chords or fasteners in which they can be tangled – and make sure it is designed for pets so there are no buttons or clips that pets can swallow.
“When dressing your pet for the occasion, take a cute photo as soon as the outfit is on. Then if the costume becomes uncomfortable, you can undress your little shamrock and show the photo instead,” said Dana Humphrey, known as The Pet Lady for her work with veterinarians and pet product producers. “Animals can become overheated when wearing clothing/costumes. Signs of overheating include panting, acting lethargic or looking anxious. Overheating occurs more rapidly if the pet is in the sun, on a hot day, or in a warm room. Offering plenty of fresh water, and a cool place in the shade can help, but if your pets seem hot or uncomfortable, let them get naked.”
Easter lilies, which are highly poisonous to pets, are now in abundance. But even the seemingly innocent carnation, a staple during St. Patrick's Day, can cause vomiting, diarrhea and distress to cats and other animals.
“Even if you do a great job of keeping the flowers away from your pet, don't forget that the water additives that often come with fresh cut flowers can be toxic to pets if they eat or drink them,” said Dr. Zabell.
PARADES AND PARTIES
An array of people and noise can cause almost overwhelming anxiety in animals. Remember to give them a safe, quiet place where they can rest, said Humphrey.
“Pets at holiday parades should be leashed and properly restrained at all times for a parade of reasons,” she said. “You want to create a Zen zone for your pet to escape the festivities if it's a bit too much for them.”