Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thanksgiving and Pets


Thanksgiving is a wonderful occasion to enjoy the company of family and friends.  It is also a time when people simply cannot resist sharing part of their feast with their pets.  As far as pets are concerned, it is “Table Scrap Heaven” and they will certainly be begging you to share some of that big turkey dinner.  While all those goodies are quite enjoyable to us, some can be problematic for our canine or feline family members.  Let’s face it, none of us wants to spend the holiday speeding to a veterinary emergency clinic, so I would like to offer a few tips to help keep your pets safe and you happy during the upcoming holiday. 

One of the best parts about Thanksgiving, for me, is that delectable turkey, smothered in rich creamy gravy.  Unfortunately, turkey skin can be hard to digest for some pets.  In addition, fatty trimmings and gravies can cause our pets to have diarrhea or vomiting in a best-case scenario.  Worst case would be that it causes a possible life-threatening inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis.  If you feel the overwhelming need to share your meal, then take the skin off and consider feeding the blander, easier to digest white meat in bite-sized pieces.  Be prudent with the gravy, too.  Think about substituting some of the clear turkey broth instead of utilizing the finished, buttery gravy.  Also, whether your holiday feast consists of turkey, goose, or roast beast from Whoville, do not give the bones as a treat.  Both raw and cooked bones can splinter when eaten and get caught in the pet’s throat, causing him to choke.  In addition, the shards can also cause serious punctures or a blockage in in your pet’s intestine.

Have we talked stuffing yet?  The scrumptious melding of fragrant and delicious ingredients is a toxic cornucopia for dogs and cats.  The mushrooms, onions, chives, garlic, scallions, sage, and pepper we typically use in our mixtures can be quite harmful to our pets.

Every meal usually has a side dish, and Thanksgiving dinner is not an exception.  Green beans are a first-rate nosh for dogs, green bean casserole isn’t.  You are just asking for trouble with Fido if you give him those beans along with the creamy mushroom soup and fried onions.  The same advice goes for candied yams or sweet potatoes.  The plain potato is fine, but you will not want to give it to your fur-buddy with all the butter, brown sugar, and marshmallows.  While you might find cranberries as an ingredient in some commercial pet foods, be aware that cranberry sauce, whether home-made or the store-bought kind, contains large amounts of sugar.  In addition, the homemade type may contain additives like raisons, nuts or certain spices that are harmful to pets. 

Holiday meals would not be the same without a tasty array of bread, pastries, desserts and candies.  You can bet those little noses sniffing the air are thinking the same thing, too.  Please do not allow your pet access to raw yeast bread dough.  When a dog or cat ingests the dough, the yeast converts the sugar to carbon dioxide gas and alcohol.  This can result in a bloated drunken pet.  While it may be acceptable for the “black sheep” of the family, for your feline or canine companion it can become a life-threatening emergency.  Keep pet noses out of cake batter and cookie dough.  They usually contain raw eggs, which can carry salmonella bacteria that may cause food poisoning.  We should all know by now that chocolate can be toxic to dogs and cats, so be sure to keep it out of sight and reach.  While veterinarians often recommend feeding pumpkin to settle a pet’s digestive system, the pies or desserts made with it often contain nutmeg and cinnamon, which are also harmful.

Even though you have finished your meal and pushed away from the table, do not think your pet is done.  These furry rascals will be brazen enough to snatch food off the counter or table and out of the trash when you are not looking.  They are quick and quite resourceful.  Be sure to keep garbage securely fastened and all food items put away.  If they get into the garbage, for them it will be like hitting the mega-million jackpot.  For you, the results could possibly break the bank or your heart.


May you have a wonderful and safe time this Thanksgiving, with your furry friends and family.  Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at P.E.T.S. .


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