Thanksgiving – Dos and Don’ts

thanksgivingThe holidays are all about family. And that includes your furry family members. To keep your pets safe, be aware of the dangers of Thanksgiving leftovers. If you decide to feed your pet a little nibble of turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don’t offer raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria. Here are their warnings and recommendations:

Fatty Table Scraps
Fatty table scraps like gravy, turkey skin, etc. are potentially dangerous to your dog, as it can result in severe pancreatitis. Certain breeds are especially sensitive, including miniature schnauzers, Shetland sheepdogs, and Yorkshire terriers. Even a piece of bacon can trigger pancreatitis in dogs, so when in doubt, don’t feed it to your dog or cat!

No Bones or Turkey Legs
Feeding your dog bones and turkey legs is risk for a possible foreign body obstruction. The bones can also get stuck in the stomach or intestines, potentially resulting in a perforation (or rupture) of the intestines.

Green Beans are Okay
Plain green beans are a wonderful treat for pets. Fresh vegetables are a great addition to any diet. If the green beans are included in a green bean casserole though, be conscious of the other ingredients in it.

Watch Out for Onions
Nothing with alliums (onions, garlic, leeks, scallions) should be ingested by your pet. While it is true that small, well-cooked portions of these foods can be okay if your pet is used to it, ingesting these foods in large quantities can lead to toxic anemia.

Grapes and Raisins are Toxic
Many people are unaware that grapes, and subsequently raisins, can be toxic to pets. The fruit has been shown to cause kidney failure in dogs.

No Alcohol
Alcohol is definitely a big no for pets. What we people may consider a small amount can be toxic for a smaller animal. Also, keep in mind that alcohol poisoning can occur in pets from atypical items like fruit cake (the recipe may have called for rum or other liquor), as well as unbaked bread.

No Artificial Sweeteners
While you may be making the healthier choice by cooking with artificial sweeteners over the real thing, sweeteners containing Xylitol are poisonous to animals, and potentially deadly to dogs.

Macaroni and Cheese is Okay
If you know your pet’s stomach handles dairy alright, macaroni and cheese is a safe leftover to share. If you are unsure though, it may be best to just give plain macaroni. Cats often develop lactose intolerance when they become adults.

No Chocolate
Chocolate is a well known off limits indulgence for pets. During the holidays however, baking chocolate is used in recipes and sometimes forgotten about by the time the dishes hit the table. Make sure this holiday season that your pet does not ingest any chocolate, especially the baking kind.

A Little Cranberry Sauce is Okay
Cranberry sauce is just fine for pets but watch the amount of sugar in it. It is probably best to only provide a small helping to your pet’s plate.

No Sage
Sage and many other herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils.

No Bread Dough
Don’t spoil your pet’s holiday by giving him raw bread dough. When raw bread dough is ingested, an animal’s body heat causes the dough to rise in his stomach. As it expands, the pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring surgery.

No Raw Batter
If you’re baking up Thanksgiving cakes, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs—they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.

Watch Overeating
A few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. However, don’t allow your pets to overindulge, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse—an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. In fact, it’s best keep pets on their regular diets during the holidays.

Wrappings
Dispose of aluminum foil, plastic wrap and wax paper. While licking up food left on these wrappings pets can ingest some of the wrapper, leading to intestinal obstructions. Also, look out for tooth picks, skewers and used silverware.

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