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Suprising things that can be toxic to our pets

I have always said that the day I stop learning new things is the day I should retire!

But I was surprised to learn last week that avocado leaves can be toxic to rabbits, if eaten in sufficient quantity.

I only heard recently that a person can die if we bite into just two cherry stones and then swallow them. Fortunately I have never felt the need to test my teeth in that way, but I know not to now!

I was reading an article from the Veterinary Poisons Information Service about other toxic plants, and discovered that there are a group of innocent seeming vegetables, which people enjoy harmlessly, but are dangerous to dogs: the Alliums. This family includes garlic, leeks and spring onions. Also many of the Prunus family can make dogs feel very poorly, including cherries, apricots, plums and peaches.

The flesh is relatively harmless, but it does have a very high sugar content, which is not healthy for a dog’s teeth. But like the cherry, it’s the stone or ‘pit’ inside that carries the most risk. If bitten into and swallowed there is enough cyanide in it to do real harm.

If swallowed whole, they can still cause problems by getting stuck in the small intestine. Many’s the time I have had to remove a peach stone from the innards of a young inquisitive dog. And the stone is quite sharp in places, which causes a lot of scratching damage to the intestine in passing.

But funnily enough, the most common problem I see with autumn fruits is the way in which the windfalls attract bees and wasps. We always see an increase in the number of stings at this time of year, and usually it’s the youngsters being stung in gardens containing fruit trees.

 So I suggest that if you have a lovely fruit tree in your garden, don’t let your dog into the area until you have had time to pick up all the windfalls each day. And certainly don’t share any food with your pet without checking first in what ways your digestion is different from theirs!

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