Saint Patrick’s Day Safety Tips for You and Your Dog

dog with shamrock headband for saint patrick's day

(Photo credit: Getty Images)

Clovers, parades, pots of gold, green beer – Saint Patrick’s Day is a great way to welcome spring and celebrate one of Ireland’s most revered saints.

But there are a few dangers all dog parents should keep in mind before participating in their Saint Paddy’s Day festivities — and we’re not just talking about leprechauns.

Make sure you keep your dog safe on Saint Patrick’s Day with these tips!

Keep corned beef and salty, fatty foods out of reach

dog in leprechaun hat for st patricks day

(Photo credit: Getty Images)

Sure, you and the rest of the fam might be saying, “Erin go Bragh!” on a full plate of corned beef and cabbage this Saint Patrick’s Day, but your dog probably shouldn’t be enjoying that same tasty meal.

Corned beef is essentially beef brisket that is soaked in a special brine with salt and vinegar before being cooked in a spiced stock. Because of that special curing process, corned beef is extremely high in sodium.

While a little bit of salt probably won’t harm your pup — depending on your dog’s size and health history — eating too much salty food all at once can cause sodium ion poisoning.

According to the Pet Poison Helpline, salt poisoning can be life-threatening to dogs, cats, horses, cows and birds. Eating too much salt can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, excessive thirst or urination, increased fluid retention, kidney damage, seizures, coma, or even death.

Watch out for garlic and onions

The stock used to cook corned beef also contains quite a bit of garlic, and many people cook the beef and cabbage with cooked onions. While those ingredients can give the meat a lot of flavor, garlic and onions can be toxic to dogs and cats.

Garlic, onions, chives and leeks are members of the Allium family of plants, which, if ingested by a dog or cat and in a high enough amount, can cause nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and increased heart rate and respiratory rate.

Cats and Japanese dog breeds, such as the Shiba Inu and Akita, are particularly susceptible to garlic and onion toxicity.

Too much fat

Finally, corned beef is quite high in fat compared to what your pet is probably used to eating, so sharing your St. Paddy’s Day dinner with your four-legged friend can cause serious stomach problems.

Foods high in fat can cause bacterial overgrowth in your pet’s digestive system, often resulting in diarrhea and vomiting.

But frequent feedings of fatty foods like corned beef can also cause a more serious condition called pancreatitis, a mild to severe swelling of the pancreas. Pets suffering from pancreatitis often require hospitalization, long-term medication and dietary restrictions.

Don’t let your dog eat soda bread or uncooked dough

dog with st.  patricks day bandana and skirt

(Photo credit: Getty Images)

Soda bread is a common Saint Patrick’s Day treat for people, but keep that delicious bread away from your dog.

If you’ve decided to spend your Sinterklaas Day baking your own tasty soda bread in the kitchen instead of chasing the four-leaf clover in your backyard, make sure to keep that uncooked bread dough out of your dog’s reach.

When a pet eats bread dough, the dough doesn’t just stay in the animal’s stomach — it expands.

As the ball of eaten dough gets bigger and bigger, it can result in a bloated stomach or even a life-threatening condition called gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), also known as bloating, where the pet’s stomach twists and the blood flow to the vital organs.

A soda bread also contains raisins or dried currants, which are toxic to dogs and, in some reports, cats and even ferrets. Eating just a few of these currants can cause vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, dehydration and, in the worst cases, acute kidney failure.

To do NOT Let your dog sip Guinness or Each Alcohol

Saint Patrick’s Day revelers are often cheerful, at least in part due to other spirits. Alcohol consumption and Sinterklaas Day go hand in hand for many people, but pets and alcohol do not mix.

Pets who drink the same whiskey, beer and other alcoholic beverages as their humans on Saint Paddy’s Day are at risk of serious health problems and can even die from consuming alcohol.

Symptoms of alcohol poisoning in pets include excessive drooling, vomiting, gagging, signs of depression, lack of coordination or stumbling, bloated stomach, seizures, sudden drops in blood sugar and slowed reflexes.

Hops, one of the main ingredients in beer, can be toxic to both dogs and cats. Ingesting enough hops can cause elevated body temperature, accelerated heart rate, vomiting, accelerated breathing, abnormal blood clotting, and in the most severe cases, even death. Small animals such as cats are very susceptible to this.

While any breed of dog can fall victim to hop poisoning, breeds more prone to malignant hyperthermia, including Greyhounds, Border Collies, English Springer Spaniels, and other breeds, are especially vulnerable.

If there is open alcohol at your party, tuck your dog away in a safe, quiet room until the party is over and you’ve had a chance to clean up.

Keep your dog away from people who also drink

Man sitting in pub garden with spaniel dog drinking pint of beer.

(Photo Credit: Suzanne Marshall/Getty Images)

Let’s be honest. People don’t get along well after a few drinks, and some of them feel a little more affectionate with some liquid courage in their stomachs. That can be a recipe for disaster when pets are involved.

Your guests and friends may want to give your pup any pets while intoxicated. But again, it’s probably best to keep your dog in a safe room away from the action.

You never know when a well-meaning, clumsy reveler will accidentally cause damage. Someone could trip over your furry relative and injure them. Nobody wants that.

Put your dog away with some water and some nice music, and let them relax. This is anyway a holiday especially for people. Your dog will not miss anything.

Now that you know the facts, have a happy and safe Saint Patrick’s Day! Luck of the Irish to you!

Do you have any tips for keeping dogs safe on Saint Patrick’s Day? Are you celebrating with your dog this year? Let us know in the comments below!

Leave a Comment