Saint Patrick’s Day can be a fun celebration of your Irish, Irish-adjacent, or non-Irish heritage! Nothing ruins a celebration like an emergency trip to the veterinary hospital, so stay safe, have fun, and keep the following tips in the back of your mind. Let’s make sure the stories you tell the next morning have happy, hilarious endings!
Leave the Beer to the Humans!
Alcohol is extremely toxic to cats and dogs. Alcohol poisoning happens fast in animals and can cause diarrhea/vomiting, lethargy, lack of coordination, trouble breathing, coma, seizures, or even death. Typically, signs of depression and drunkenness in dogs appear within an hour of ingestion.
If you or members of your party are drinking, be mindful, and make sure it stays out of reach of your pets. If you are concerned you pet may have gotten into alcohol, give your veterinarian or closest veterinary emergency room a call immediately.
Shamrocks: Not So Lucky for Pets
The Oxalis species of shamrock plant, sometimes given as gifts on St. Paddy’s Day, can be toxic to dogs and cats. Luckily they taste bitter and are seldom the snack of choice, but if eaten in large amounts it can cause low blood calcium and kidney damage. Symptoms of Oxalis poisoning include stomach upset, drooling, head shaking, and decreased appetite.
St. Patrick’s Day Foods: Do’s & Don’ts for Pets
don’t: Salty/fatty foods
Traditional foods like corned beef and mashed potatoes, can be very high in salt and fat. Salt toxicity in pets is dangerous and giving your pet too much fatty food scraps can cause acute pancreatitis.
Currants & raisins, often found in Irish soda bread, can can cause severe kidney damage leading to acute kidney failure in dogs.
Don’t: Foods containing onion & garlic
Don’t feed your pet foods that contain onion & garlic, such as pot roast or shepherd’s pie. When onions and garlic are ingested in large amounts, it can cause anemia, with resultant weakness, lethargy and pale mucous membranes. Cats are more sensitive than dogs to Allium (leeks) toxicosis.
Here are some snacks you can give to your pets on this festive holiday:
- Raw veggies (cabbage, carrots, green beans)
- Cooked plain potato
- These adorable shamrock cookies for dogs
And always remember to keep trash cans secure; that corned beef fat can smell irresistible to a hungry pup.
Pet Safety in Crowds and Parades
We always recommend leaving your pet at home. Holiday celebrations are the most common time dogs go missing. Even the most confident dogs can get spooked in large crowds with lots of noises (and unruly people).
If you must take your dog with you to a parade or event, be sure they have ID tags, a secure harness they cannot slip out of, and a good leash.
If you’re having people over your house, make sure your pets have a safe space or room they can retreat to and let people know to leave them alone. Be mindful of doors opening as people come and go; a scared cat or excited dog may take advantage of a busy room with people not paying attention.
If your pet likes dressing up, and you like dying his/her fur – make sure any dyes you use are non-toxic to pets, read the labels, or contact a local groomer for recommendations.
We hope you won’t need us, but if you do, our emergency rooms are open and fully staffed. Call or come right in if you are worried about your pet for any reason.