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Keep Pets Safe This Holiday Season

Keep Pets Safe This Holiday Season: Tips from Pet Poison Helpline. Check out this short article on how to prevent problems at the Holidays.

I would add  be sure to secure your guest suitcases, or shopping bags.

Here is a short story. They are smarter than you think.
One year my brother came to visit as usual. Unknown to me, he had a carton of malted milk balls in his suitcase.

We left the house to go shopping, his bedroom door was open a crack and suitcase on the bed, with the top shut, but not latched. This was no problem for my Dachshund. She easily found, opened his suitcase,  ate through the carton and  a lb of milk chocolate covered treats.  She greeted us at the door, looking satisfied and very full, breath smelling of chocolate. She seemed so proud of herself for solving the obstacle course we left for her. We spent our Christmas evening, inducing the dog to vomit, and monitoring her for heart problems from chocolate. She had a bad case of diarrhea but survived.

I learned a good lesson, not all pet loving guests  know which items to safeguard from our pets. So without ruining any surprise treats, I ask guest  to put suitcases and shopping bags be in either closed “pet proof” closets, or behind latched bedroom doors.

Enjoy the holidays

Dr Smith

Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs – how to figure out if your dog ingested enough to be a problem.

Great article on how much of a dose it takes to be toxic to a dog, depending on their size. If you happen to own a Collie, Sheltie, Aussie, Border Collie,  the dose may be 1/3 the dose calculated in this article.


This sensitivity of the heart to some chemicals is because the  members of the “Herding Breeds” may  inherit a Multi-Drug Sensitivity gene called  MDR1.  Washington State University, Veterinary Pathology laboratory has an inexpensive DNA test that can be done by owners to determine if your dog has any copies of the MDR1 gene. This information is important for planning on dosage of several drugs i.e.; heartworm preventatives, some antibiotics and chemicals that affect the heart, chemotherapy plus some anesthestics and tranquilzers. Simply knowing if your dog has the gene, allows your Vet to adjust the dose of the candidate drugs or choose another option when available. Follow the link below for more info:

Breeds of dogs affected with the mutant MDR1 gene. Information from the VCPL at Washington State University..

using gentle leader with training in emergency situations with aggressive dog | drsophiayin.com – YouTube

PodeesAggression (Narrated) | drsophiayin.com – YouTube.

Vet Report Gives Tips for Avoiding Salmonella Infections

Vet Report Gives Tips for Avoiding Salmonella Infections. See my personal story below.

Check out this article regarding the safety of dog treats. In general more warnings are happening every week. The production of rawhide, pig ear and hoof based dog treats has gone to China. Many Merchants of dog treats are buying their supplies from Co. located in China. So as with other products coming from a Country that does not have the safety standards we are used to, problems will happen. The FDA is in charge but does not routinely inspect food until after a complaint is made.

I recommend that my clients buy large beef leg bones from a butcher and place in water, bring it to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer  (continuous small bubbles around the edge of the water where it touches the pan) for 20 minutes. Even softened your dog will get hours of chewing fun. It takes 20 minutes at the temperature that water bubbles (boiling point) to kill the toxins that Salmonella or E. coli produce.


Let me compare  food poisoning from these bugs v.s more common forms. The “Run of the mill” food poisoning causes diarrhea and some vomiting in 12 to 24 hours after consumed and last a day or two most individuals recover without treatment if they can drink water.  The the toxin producing bacteria (bugs) can cause shock, collapse and death before the diarrhea has the time to get from the upper colon to the outside.

My cat  is a survivor of a toxin producing food borne bacteria. She ate less than a tablespoon of tainted canned cat food that had been left out for 6 hours.  I found her in the early morning hidden in a closet, unresponsive, collapsed,  stiff, with no  pulse but she had a weak  heartbeat. I rushed her to a University Veterinary Emergency Department. Four  trained EM personnel could not hit a vein to give her an IV so  a surgical cut-down to place an catheter in a vein was done, to give her life saving fluids. She was revived by the fluids and treatments for shock, after 6 hours. The next day, her liver and kidneys started to fail because of the effects of the toxins which can cause massive cell damage in vital organs. More sophisticated,  life saving, procedures were done over the next week in ICU and she survived.  In fact, She was the first animal I had seen in over 12 years that had as bad a case of food poisoning that had survived. All of the Veterinarians and Vet. tech.s  shared with  how rare it was in their experience, to have an animal survive this type of poisoning.  Maybe it was her luck that day, and certainly I recognized the urgency of her situation as did the EM people and we all moved very fast. No time was spent deciding if we should treat each complication. I gave the emergency veterinarians,  full authority to do all and every life saving method, knowing that having to call me to get permission would delay important treatments and time makes a major difference. She went on to live a long life with me.

I had the benefit of small cost savings because I was on staff at the same hospital. Even though, money was no limit for me at that time. In today’s dollars, her care would cost approximately $2000 to $4000.00 and the odds of survival are still very low. So I just want to say from my experience spend the time and extra care to make sure pets food and treats are safe.

best regards

Dr Smith

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