Thanksgiving Hazards and your Pets

This is a season to say thanks to those we love, including our canine and feline companions. Some pet owners do this by sharing some of their family feast with them. While you may think that a few morsels of “people food” can’t hurt, the fact is that some foods can be harmful—even lethal—to animals.

The foods we eat during the holidays tend to be particularly rich and fatty, and that can cause health problems in pets now and down the road. Vomiting and diarrhea are commonly seen in pets given food that is not a part of their regular diet, especially foods that are high in fat.

How to ensure that your pet has a safe and healthy Thanksgiving:

● Never give your pet poultry bones—they can splinter easily and stick in the esophagus, stomach, or intestines and may require surgical removal. Many pets don’t show symptoms for a few days.

● Keep him away from chocolate—it can be fatal to dogs. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. But any chocolate, in large enough amounts, can kill a dog. Grapes, raisins and onions are also toxic to pets.

● Don’t let your pet hang out where food is often dropped. If he is not trained to stay out of the garbage, use a can with a lid, or keep it out of your pet’s reach. Be sure to tell your guests that your pet has already eaten, and feeding him table scraps is not allowed. After you’ve cleaned the kitchen, take the garbage out and dispose of it in a secure place where no pets can get into it.

● Make sure your pet can’t access the kitchen before, during or after a holiday meal. Tripping, counter surfing, and burn hazards make the kitchen an accident waiting to happen. Prevention is your best asset.

● Watch the door as guests enter and leave. An open door is an invitation for a dog or cat to flee a busy house for the world outside. If he’s shy or upset by company, keep him in a quieter part of the house during noisy festivities.

Thanksgiving meals may have all your favorites, but imagine what can happen to your pet if he chows down on mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. Severe digestive problems and pancreatitis are triggered by high-fat and high-protein foods. The potential risks of feeding him Thanksgiving leftovers far outweigh his momentary delight. A little restraint and a yummy chew toy will keep your pet safe this Thanksgiving and for many holidays to come.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pet of the Month – Toby