Pet poisonings escalate during the winter holiday season. Cookies, nuts, Christmas candies and other yuletide temptations are placed on plates and platters and often positioned in locations where they are accessible to family pets. It is tempting to share the flavors of the season with your furry friends, but could you be unwittingly poisoning your pet? Stop and think before you let your pet have a nibble of smoked salmon or pate liver canapés.

It is important to remember that cats and dogs metabolize food differently than humans. What may be tasty and harmless to you, could be fatal to your pet. According to reports published by the ASPCA, thousands of dogs suffer or die each year needlessly due to ingesting common food items including:

Garlic and Onions
Ingesting onions and garlic in any form can lead to irreversible red blood cell damage in pets. Symptoms of this type of poisoning include tremors, seizures, shortness of breath, vomiting, weakness, coma, and death. Found in many processed foods including baby food, garlic, and onion in powdered, fresh, frozen, or cooked form, contains sulfoxides and disulfides that cause red blood cell damage. Garlic and onions products are even more damaging to cats than they are to dogs.

Macadamia Nuts
As few as a half dozen macadamia nuts will kill your dog! Dogs that ingest macadamia nuts suffer tremors, seizures, paralysis in their hindquarters, vomiting, coma, and death.

Salty Treats
Avoid giving your dog nibbles of pretzels, potato chips, processed meats such as hot dogs and sausage, or salty jerky. Too much salt in your dog’s diet depletes electrolytes and causes dehydration.

The majority of varieties of mushrooms are toxic to pets. Ingestion results in nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, shock, coma or death. Avoid giving your pet any dish that has mushrooms in it such as a casserole or leftover pizza. If mushrooms appear in your home landscape, be diligent in removing them to prevent an accidental poisoning.

Lay Off The Fat
Fat is full of flavor and calories, and many pet owners routinely add fat trimmings and drippings to their pet’s diet. Wrong! Excess fat in a pet’s diet precipitates pancreatitis: a potentially lethal condition in pets.

Avocados Poison Pets
The bark and leaves of the avocado tree as well as the rind, fruit and seed of the avocado are poisonous to pets. All parts of the avocado tree contain an ingredient know as persin. Persin can lead to diarrhea, vomiting and stomach distress in pets. Homeowners in tropical climates that cultivate avocados are wise to pick up fallen fruit and rake up the avocado leaves that could be accessible to your pets or other wildlife.

No Raw Eggs
Raw eggs contain avidin, an ingredient that blocks absorption of biotin, an important B vitamin. When you feed your pets raw eggs, not only do you face the risk of a salmonella infection, you could cause a biotin deficiency which can lead to hair loss and skin irritation.

No Raw Meat
Just as it is dangerous for humans to consume raw meat, so it is for dogs. When ingesting raw meat, there is the risk of E. coli, salmonella bacteria and a diverse array of other nasty bacteria and viruses. Nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting are symptoms of an infection.

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