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Pills don’t take a holiday, but some of the toxins on the list seem to.

“Chocolate season” stretches from Halloween to Valentine’s Day. And the darker the chocolate, the deadlier it is.

Over the past few years, there has been a slight increase in the number of chocolate-caused deaths and a larger increase in the number of dogs ingesting life-threatening doses of methylxanthine, which is found in chocolate, Wismer said.

“Dogs love chocolate and they are gluttons. They won’t stop eating it,” Wismer said.

It would take about an ounce of milk chocolate per pound of dog to be deadly, but only an eighth of an ounce of really dark chocolate per pound, she said.

Past Valentine’s Day lurks the danger of Easter _ the time when cats come in contact with deadly lilies. If a cat bites on a leaf or bats at a lily and gets pollen on its paw, then licks it off, leave for the vet immediately, Wismer said.

Researchers have only determined in the last four or five years that grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs.

“They don’t know what it is in them that makes this happen, but three-quarters of a pound of grapes can cause very significant toxicity in a dog,” said Portland, Ore.-based veterinarian Jeffrey S. Klausner, chief medical officer of Banfield Pet Hospital, the largest animal hospital in the world with 770 clinics in 41 states.

Alcohol _ especially cream-based drinks like Russian eggnog _ can make an animal very drunk very quickly. The animal will wobble, vomit, maybe inhale vomit into its lungs and become comatose, Wismer said. The majority of those calls come in on New Year’s Day, she said.

Bread made from scratch can also be a problem. “The reason the dough is rising is because it produces gas, but it also produces alcohol so we can get drunk dogs that way too,” Wismer said. In addition, the dough will continue to expand inside the dog, she said.

She also reports an increasing number of marijuana calls recently. “Dogs and cats like to chew on plants,” and munching on marijuana plants can increase their blood pressure.





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