As we approach the holiday season, our minds start racing. While we’re focused on decorating the house and planning the holiday dinners, we tend to forget about our pets. The holiday season is actually a very dangerous time for our pets. Many household items are dangerous to your pet and without your supervision, your pet could end up in the Emergency Clinic, not where you were hoping to spend your holiday. Here are a few valuable tips to keep your pets safe through this year’s Thanksgiving feast.
Most animal ER visits are due to acute vomiting. We all want to enjoy the Thanksgiving feast we have prepared for ourselves, so why not Fluffy too? Feeding high fat foods such as turkey skin, turkey gravy and even some pies can cause severe, acute pancreatitis (a painful inflammation of the pet’s pancreas). The first clinical sign is vomiting and not wanting to eat. Another portion of the turkey that can cause your pet trouble is the bones. Poultry bones, especially cooked, have the potential to break off into sharp shards that could cause a tear in the digestive tract or, if consumed in large amounts, could cause a blockage. These situations are painful, life threatening and not easily treated. If you absolutely have to share your meal with your pet, try a more acceptable treat, such as a small amount of white turkey meat.
Please let your guests know if your pet has food allergies. One bite of turkey can cause a food allergic dog to start intensely itching. If your guests need to feed your dog, try hypoallergenic dog treats or keep the dog confined for meal time. Other foods to generally avoid include; grapes and raisins, excessively salty foods, foods flavored with onion or garlic powder, desserts and sweets containing xylitol and chocolate.
Let’s not forget our kitty cats. Although they may not act like our dogs, salivating at the cutting board, don’t count them out of the mischief. The above applies to cats as well but more importantly, the string used to tie the turkey legs together is very attractive to your cats. The string is really fun to play with and also tastes great because it is covered in turkey grease! String ingestion can cause a linear foreign body (a foreign object in the shape of a line; thread, string, ribbon) if it gets stuck at any point in the digestive tract. This will cause your cat to vomit, become lethargic and not want to eat. This is also a painful, life threatening, surgical emergency.
Now that we have kept our pets safe during the meal, let’s keep them safe during clean up. All leftovers should be secured in the refrigerator or behind a pet proof door. Also, remember to keep your trash cans secured as well. Any leftovers or foil wrappers that smell like food can be dangerous if ingested.
Hopefully your Thanksgiving this year is delicious and safe. Keep your veterinarian’s number and the ASPCA poison control hotline nearby (www.aspca.com). One quick phone call can give life saving advice or help you avoid a trip to the ER!
Have a Happy, Healthy and Safe Thanksgiving!
Thank you for continuing to trust Rhinebeck Animal Hospital as part of your pet's health care team!
With warmest regards,