The Problem with Garbage
This Christmas and festive season Pet Insurance Australia is urging all pet owners to be extra careful when it comes to garbage and our pets.
“Around this time of year, we do see an increase in the amount of companion animals being treated for toxicity in relation to getting into garbage,” Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia warns. “Ingestion of rotten foods, and foreign bodies – like skewers – can be a real issue for some pets over the festive season.”
With dogs being natural scavengers, unsecured rubbish after entertaining may warrant an unexpected and serious trip to the emergency veterinary clinic.
Dr Gerardo Poli from Animal Emergency Service and the Veterinary Director Jindalee Animal Emergency Service agrees that garbage can be a real danger for pets, particularly around this time of year.
“Gastroenteritis is the most common problem, is can be from a sudden change in diet or ingestion of something that causes food poisoning. This manifests as abdominal pain, going off their food and water, and a combination of vomiting and diarrhoea,” Dr Poli says.
“Another common problem is pancreatitis, this is very painful inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas contains enzymes that breakdown food, what happens in pancreatitis is that that these enzymes are activated within the pancreas itself leading to digestion of the pancreas from within. This is incredibly painful and life threatening, pets often spend several days in hospital receiving medical treatment for this condition.”
Foreign body obstruction of the stomach or small intestinal tract, is also a common condition around this time of year. As too, poisoning (or intoxication) from ingestion of popular festive flowers – lilies which is a common cause of kidney failure in cats.
“The normal culprits for foreign body obstructions are corn cobs and bones,” Crighton says. “And it’s also not uncommon to hear of skewers posing an issue particularly after entertaining, and lilies causing toxic problems in cats.”
“Toxicity can come in two forms… first from rotten food causing food poisoning, this is where rotting food contains bacterial or mould toxins, and secondly from ingestion of toxic foods for example chocolate, xylitol containing products, grapes/raisins, macadamia, onions, yeast dough these foods can cause a variety of problems,” Dr Poli adds.
TIPS TO KEEPING PETS SAFE
1. Secure bins with correctly fitting lids or heavy objects.
2. Store rubbish correctly. If the bin is full consider popping it in a shed or pet-free area until pick up day. Most pets will get into the kitchen bin, so make sure you remove and secure it correctly.
3. Don’t leave food lying around on tables etc.
4. Do not feed your pet leftovers and educate your guests on the importance of this.
5. Never feed your pets cooked bones
6. Keep lilies away from cats
“Ensure that food is not left on the table where pets can reach it, keep lids on bins and cupboard doors closed. Avoid offering them left overs and tell family and friends to not do the same. Generally just keep your pet on their normal diet over the festive period, gastroenteritis, pancreatitis, foreign body obstruction and intoxications are very common and preventable conditions we treat as an veterinary emergency service.”