Sharing is not caring when it comes to your holiday table scraps!
I sit down to my evening meal and, it never fails, I have 3 cute little chihuahuas giving me their “I’m so innocent and pretty” faces while sitting perfectly (that they’ll never do on command).
As the meal progresses, I get the dilated pupils, the slicked back ears, and the chihuahua tremble with faces that say “I’ll never survive without that bite of meat!”
Finally, since playing nice got them nowhere, I get the bark or whine that says “I command you, lowly human, to feed us, your masters!”
They are so hard to deny but we know that love is NOT best given in the form of food.
All kidding aside, here at CHAH, we treat several cases of gastritis and pancreatitis around the holidays. It is in our nature, as loving pet owners, to want to share the celebration of food with them. Sudden changes in diet or feeding scraps can wreak havoc with the gastrointestinal tract. It can be as minor as transient loose stool to a raging pancreatitis with bloody diarrhea, bloody vomiting, and dehydration.
Pancreatitis causes inflammation of the pancreas. The inflammation causes leakage of digestive enzymes that can lead to organ damage, diabetes, and, in the most severe cases, death. Treatment is geared toward controlling nausea and vomiting, correcting dehydration with intravenous fluids and preventing further dehydration, and feeding a low-fat, easily digestible prescription food. If pancreatitis is diagnosed, your pet will require at least one night of hospitalization. Of course, other diseases can present with similar symptoms, so a full diagnostic work-up is indicated.
Please advise visiting family members or someone who is pet-sitting while you are away for the holidays, not to feed the cute dog or cat begging for table scraps. Keep all trash in a pet-proof secure receptacle. Tell guests to put their plates with leftovers away immediately.
If you or your visitors cannot resist giving a little morsel, let it be a piece of the dog’s regular kibble or a plain green bean. Give the cat a very small teaspoonful of tuna. We really like Purina Proplan Gastroenteric diet that is easy on the GI tract. I have advised clients to bake small biscuits of the canned food in the oven to make a healthy treat.
Please call us if you need us this holiday season!
-Bethany A. Cody, DVM