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Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Our Pets


Above picture is of my Aunt Gin's Maltipoo. Pumpkin's 1st Thanksgiving “2014” 


This article describes the safety tips and foods pet owners should purposely stay away from sharing with their pets on Thanksgiving. Since more than 85 percent of pet owners consider their dogs and cats to be part of the family chances are you will be tempted to share some “loving from the oven”…


Nothing says family like Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday and a great time to join together with family and friends. Since more than 85 percent of pet owners consider their dogs and cats to be part of the family chances are you will be tempted to share some “loving from the oven” with your four-legged family members. It is important to be aware of the common pet hazards associated with this day of family, friends and feasting.

Before we see the regrettable effects of overeating on our bathroom scales our pets may feel the rumblings of remorse as well in the form of vomiting, diarrhea or a sudden loss of appetite.

Sudden changes in diet or too many rich, fatty foods are just a few of the reasons why veterinary offices see an upscale in cases of pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) and gastrointestinal upset right after Thanksgiving.

Although we should know better many of us will probably still overeat and indulge our pets as well. If you know you cannot resist that persistent stare from under the table here are some things to keep in mind this holiday when it comes to feeding your pets:

·        Keep portions small and limit them to one or two new kinds of food (like turkey and green beans) rather than a smorgasbord of everything on the table.

·        Onions, garlic and some spices can be toxic and lots of butter, sour cream or bacon drippings can be high in fat. If necessary, cook something separately without the seasonings and sauces.


·        Do not leave food within reach of counter surfers and take garbage outside so your pets do not get into it while you are engrossed in the Thanksgiving football game. I am a true Dallas Cowboy fan… Go Cowboys!



The Thanksgiving Menu


Are there some things on the menu that may be more or less risky for your pet than others? Oh yes, absolutely!

Turkey:  In small amount is okay. Most pets can gobble up small amounts of lean, light meat without a problem. Turkey skin and dark meat have more fat and may be too greasy for pets. A small amount of dark meat and skin is okay but, light meat is the preferred snack.

Make sure anything you serve your pet is bone-free as well. Avoid giving your dog or cat wings or drumsticks. The bones can get stuck between their teeth, in their esophagus and cause vomiting or get lodged in any part of their GI track. To keep things safe… carefully remove the meat from the bones!

Turkey Gravy:  Often includes turkey stock, pepper and seasonings. Way too fatty for our pets.

Fatty Foods:  Such as butter, bacon, fatty meat drippings, gravies and meat scraps may seem harmless but can pose very real threats of pancreatitis. Remember, that Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that can result in clinical signs of vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and abdominal pain. Symptoms may not be immediate and can occur up to 4 days after exposure.

***Discard food items such as corn cobs, turkey trussing and turkey bones. This can result in an obstructive risk or gastrointestinal injury that can have the potential of requiring surgical removal or repair.***

Xylitol:  Candies, desserts or other foods that are sweetened with an artificial sweetener called xylitol are dangerous to pets. Xylitol can result in a rapid drop in blood sugar in dogs along with liver damage.

Raisins and Grapes:  Found in some of our favorite Thanksgiving foods are a very serious concern for dogs as they have the risk of resulting in acute renal failure with even small amounts that are ingested.

Chocolates:  Our desserts and treats are dangerous to our pets! Remember, that the darker the chocolate the more serious the ingestion and the less they will need to ingest to develop clinical signs of vomiting, diarrhea, agitation, tremors, increased heart rate along with potential seizures.

Nuts:  Are high in fat and have the risk of pancreatitis. Macadamia nuts are more serious and can result in vomiting, diarrhea, inability to stand or walk normally (they take on a drunken appearance and can even drag their rear limbs as if injured)

Of course the safest way to show your pet love on Thanksgiving is not with food at all. Go for a romp at the dog park. A long dog walk. Toss around some catnip toys. Or, just snuggle for a bit during halftime. After all having a healthy pet is one of the best things to be thankful for!



Kimberly Dillon
Dog Training School NY

Brooklyn, NY 11214
(718) 704-6821
Email: Contact Us
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