Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday that often brings together friends and families. Unfortunately, this holiday can also present many hazards for our pets. Neither you nor your pet will be very thankful if they ingest turkey bones, a toxic floral arrangement or an unattended alcoholic beverage. These dangers can lead to your pet becoming very ill, spend time in the Veterinary Emergency Department or even death.
Although indulging in a delicious feast is one of the highlights for many of us, the foods we enjoy during this holiday often pose the largest risks to our pets. Which types of foods and beverages do you need to pay extra attention to ensure they aren’t ingested by our pets?
- Turkey bones: Although these are especially appealing to our pets, they are dangerous and can cause intestinal upset and may even splinter once digested. These splinters can cause damage to the intestines that can lead to infection, intestinal blockage, or even the death of a pet if not treated appropriately.
- Chocolate: Many of the delectable desserts served after the Thanksgiving meal contain chocolate. Chocolate is dangerous for dogs in particular because it contains theobromine, a caffeine-like ingredient that can be toxic to your pet. It is especially important to keep your pet away from dark, semi-sweet and baker’s chocolate because they contain higher levels of theobromine.
- Corn Cobs: Although pets can usually enjoy few cooked corn kernels just fine, be sure to keep the cobs away, as it can cause an obstruction if your dog attempts to eat the entire cob.
- Fat: Turkey skin, fat trimmings and gravy should all be kept out of reach of our furry family members, as ingesting these fatty-foods can cause gastrointestinal upset.
- Nuts: High in fat and carry the risk of pancreatitis. Macadamia nuts are more serious as ingestions can result in vomiting, diarrhea, inability to rise or walk normally (they take on a drunken appearance and can even drag their rear limbs as if injured).
- Raisins/grapes: Pose a very serious concern for dogs as they have the risk of resulting in acute renal failure; even in very small amounts.
- Alcohol: Be cautious to keep unattended beverages out of reach to pets; alcohol even in small amounts can be fatal.
We’re not saying to deny your beloved pets a small taste of the feast altogether; a few small, boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a very small portion of pumpkin pie shouldn’t cause problems. Just make sure you don’t allow your pets to overindulge, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset or diarrhea.
In addition to watching what your pets are ingesting, there are a few other important things you should keep in mind to keep your precious pets, safe:
- Ensure your pet is wearing an ID tag with your contact information: As guests arrive, step outside, and leave for the evening after your Thanksgiving feast, your dog or cat might take the opportunity to make a break for it out of the front door or the back gate.
- Provide a safe place for your skittish pets: Holiday gatherings can sometimes prove overwhelming for more nervous pets, so be sure to provide a safe area away from the party for your dog or cat if necessary. Provide some favorite toys for comfort, and make sure to place your pet’s food and water dishes where they can be easily accessed.
- Flower arrangement pose risks: Unfortunately, many of the most beautiful plants and flowers used as centerpieces are also quite deadly to cats. Lilies are a prime example; they are toxic to your cat and can be fatal even in very small doses. Other toxic plants include, but aren’t limited to: poinsettia, amaryllis and azaleas.
Aside from the delicious meal and company of our friends and family, Thanksgiving is also a time to reflect on what we are thankful for and to help others in need. We ask that you considering helping us provide medical care and shelter to surrendered, neglected and mistreated pets in London & Middlesex County by signing up to be a PAW Monthly Donor.
Article written by Claire Belsheim, Marketing Coordinator at London Humane Society
- The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. http://www.aspca.org
- American Veterinary Medical Association. http://www.acma.org
- Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. http://www.canadianveterinarians.net