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Welcome to Four Paws Up!, the newsletter of The Happy Dog Spot.

In this Issue:

Holiday Dog Toxins

The holidays are upon us, and chances are you are running around buying presents, attending parties and enjoying the season. And, hopefully, you are having a great time! But while you are trimming your tree and hanging your mistletoe, let's remember that there are some aspects of the holidays that can be hazardous to our canine friends (including pine needles and mistletoe).

dog toxins dog wearing Santa Claus hat

As we eat, drink and get merry this holiday, please be sure to keep the following "holiday toxins" away from your furry friends:

Christmas tree pine needles
Can produce oral irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, trembling and posterior weakness.

Commonly found during the Christmas season. Can cause intense vomiting, diarrhea and depression.

People might like to kiss under it at Christmas, but for pets it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, collapse, erratic behavior, hallucinations and death.

Can cause irritation to the mouth and stomach and vomiting.

Animals should never be given alcohol of any kind. Besides causing intoxication, alcohol ingestion can cause coma and even be fatal to pets.

Dogs and chocolate are a dangerous combination. Chocolate and any chocolate-related products (such as cocoa beans, cocoa powder and the cocoa bean hulls used in cocoa mulch) are very dangerous for dogs. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant. Caffeine and theobromine are in the methylxanthine class of chemical compounds, along with theophylline.

Both caffeine and theobromine are nervous system stimulants. Since dogs metabolize theobromine more slowly than humans, they are highly susceptible to theobromine poisoning. In dogs, caffeine and theobromine can cause restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, increased breathing and heart rate, possible irregular beating of the heart, increased urination, excessive panting, increased blood pressure levels, seizures, coma and death.

Just 27 mg of theobromine or caffeine per pound of body weight can be lethal for a dog. This means that less than 0.1 oz of Baker's unsweetened chocolate per pound of body weight could be fatal to a dog. Dark chocolate containing a lot of cocoa, baking chocolate and coca beans have the highest concentration of theobromine and caffeine. We humans might love our chocolate, but dogs and chocolate are a potentially deadly match.

Coffee, Tea and Cola
Since these foods also contain caffeine, they can also cause caffeine toxicity in dogs. Tea and cola also contain theobromine.

Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and raisins are highly toxic foods for dogs. Although the toxic component of grapes and raisins is unknown, ingesting a large enough amount can cause kidney damage or failure.

Macadamia Nuts
Although the toxic principle of macadamia nuts is unknown, they are indeed a very dangerous food for dogs. Ingesting macadamia nuts can cause depression, hyperthermia, weakness, muscular stiffness, vomiting, tremors and increased heart rate.

Here's to a safe and happy holiday season -- for all of our two-legged and four-legged friends and family members!

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