As the Thanksgiving holiday season approaches, it is important to consider some ways to keep our furry friends safe. Unfortunately, many delicious holiday foods can be dangerous or life threatening to our pets!
Do not allow pets to eat grapes or raisins as these can sometimes cause kidney failure. The sugar-free sweetener xylitol can be found in many baked goods, gums, and other items, and can cause a potentially fatal liver failure.
Make sure your pet doesn’t go “counter-surfing” and take extra care to secure the trash from invasion by a pet because fatty table scraps such as gravy, bacon, and turkey skin can cause a serious disease called pancreatitis. This can result in a long hospital stay and can be potentially life-threatening. Also, moldy items in the trash can cause severe disease in pets. Please make sure that well-meaning visiting family and friends do not share their plate or any rich, fatty foods with your pet.
Chocolate is always off limits for dogs and cats. Depending on the type of chocolate exposure, signs can range from hyperexcitability, vomiting and diarrhea to seizures and death. Never give any kind of chocolate to a pet.
Bones and turkey legs could potentially cause obstruction in the stomach or intestine, and in some cases could even perforate these organs or the esophagus resulting in extensive surgical emergencies.
Be careful with unbaked yeast bread dough. If eaten raw by a pet, the yeast could rise inside the body and release carbon dioxide which may distend the abdomen and potentially cause a life-threatening condition called GDV (gastric dilation and volvulus).
Avoid giving onions, leeks, chives, or garlic to pets as these can cause damage to red blood cells called hemolysis which can result in a severe anemia or low red blood cell count.
Make sure all of your guests know not to feed your pets. Many people don’t know that sharing their plate with a pet could make the pet sick, so, in a polite way, be sure to advise guests not to share and not to leave food sitting around where a pet could accidentally sneak an unhealthy snack. My family members know, at every family gathering, that they have to check with Aunt Becky before giving any food to any of our family pets. A little bit of knowledge goes a long way, and no one wants to make a pet sick. Spread the word and have a happy, safe holiday season!
Author: Dr. Rebecca Merrifield