Keeping Pets Safe on Thanksgiving
The turkey is in the oven, the sides are made, and family is on their way to celebrate Thanksgiving. If you have any four-legged family members, please be sure you take a few extra steps among the festivities today to keep them safe.
Thanksgiving is one of the busiest days of the year for vet emergency calls, per the ASPCA.
During your meal, you may be tempted to feed your dog or cat some of the leftovers from your Thanksgiving dinner. But animals’ digestive systems are different than humans and certain foods may make them sick. For example, fatty foods can cause gastroenteritis (vomiting, diarrhea) or even a more serious condition, pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas).
Of course, the bones in turkey can cause a serious health issue as well. The small brittle bones of a turkey splinter easily, resulting in sharp points that can puncture your pet’s esophagus, stomach or intestines.
Seasonings as well can pose a problem. For example, "Stuffing contains herbs, spices and other essential oils that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils," says the ASPCA.
Other foods to ensure you do not feed your four-legged friends include grapes and raisins (which can cause kidney disease), onions and onion powder (which can destroy red blood cells), raw bread dough (body heat causes the dough to rise and expand, leading to severe abdominal pain and bloating), and chocolate (toxic to most pets).
A small amount (ie: a tablespoon) of white meat bird (fully cooked, never raw) without skin, seasonings, drippings, gravy or bones is safe for your pets for a holiday treat, but no more, says Dr. Jason Nicholas “The Preventive Vet.” Remember that treatment for a sick pet not only causes stress on you and your loved one, but also could cost a few hundred to a few thousand dollars in emergency vet care.
Instruct your guests not to feed pets as well. Remember that if each person sneaks a small piece of meat to a cat or dog, it adds up to a lot.
A better idea for your Fluffy or Fido is to give him his own “Fancy Feast” full of safe foods. Add a few turkey tidbits and unseasoned vegetables (ie: green beans, plain sweet potato) to his usual dinner. Then give him a treat to gnaw on while the rest of the family enjoys dinner.
Other tips for keeping your pet healthy, happy and safe:
• Keep track of your pets. With family coming in and out, be sure your dog or cat does not scoot out the door and become lost.
• If your pet is skittish with all of the added excitement, put him into a quiet room with fresh water and his favorite toys.
• Ensure the trash can is emptied promptly. Food wrappings (foil, plastic, wax, Styrofoam) can also lead to gastrointestinal obstruction if eaten.
• Try to spend some time with your pet doing his regular eating and exercise schedule.
North Shore Animal League
Arizona Humane Society
The Preventive Vet