Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude and sharing food and fun with our family and friends. Of course we would want to include our furry family members in the merriment! When it comes to enjoying this Thanksgiving with our pets though, we have to be very careful to not accidentally make them ill.
If you are having turkey this Thanksgiving, it is ok to give your pets a small amount but be sure to stick to the lean (white) meat only. Do not give them any of the skin (too fatty) and definitely, no bones! Also, just like it is a bad idea for us to eat undercooked poultry, raw or undercooked turkey can make your pets ill too.
Be aware of the seasoning you use on the turkey as well. Sage and other herbs that are commonly used this time of year contain oils that can cause gastrointestinal upset and neurologic signs if ingested in large quantities. Large amounts of garlic and onions can cause problems too so be sure to stick to just small amounts of white meat, no skin, no dressing, no gravy.
The kitchen will be a busy place for the next few weeks and trash cans will be a particular concern for curious pets. Be sure to keep trash cans in a place that is inaccessible to your pet. If they do get into the trash and eat too much, they are at risk of developing a condition called pancreatitis, or they may ingest something that causes a blockage in their intestines that may require surgery.
Baked Goods and Sweets
As holiday baking kicks into full swing, there will likely be lots of sweets and baked goods around. These treats are typically high in fat and sugar (which is why they taste so good!) and will likely cause some intestinal distress if given to your dog or cat. If these are made with artificial sweeteners however, especially xylitol, they should be kept away from pets at all costs. Xylitol can be deadly to dogs. And of course, anything containing chocolate is also off-limits.
Of course YOU know that alcohol is bad for pets, but be sure that well-meaning friends and family know this too. It is NOT okay to give ANY alcohol to pets.
Be aware of the kinds of floral arrangements you use as well. Specifically if you have kitties, avoid any plants or flowers in the lily family. Ingestion of any part of these plants can cause kidney failure so it is best to keep these out of the house all together. Also watch for curious pets that like to chew on ribbon or other decorative items you may have out this time of year.
So What CAN You Do?
While the humans are feasting, make sure your furry family has a feast of their own. A new food puzzle for the cat or a Kong® filled with little bits of turkey meat or veggies for the dog. A new chew toy or cat nip toy will also be a good source of entertainment for them and allow everyone to enjoy their time together.
Don’t forget about quiet time. If you have friends or family staying at the house, your pets may need a place where they can go to get away from all the activity. For some pets, a change in their routine can cause anxiety so be sure to watch for signs of any distress.
If your pet acts ill in any way (e.g., loss of appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea) or you note any change in behavior, be sure to call your family veterinarian. They are more than happy help make sure you and your pets have a safe and festive Thanksgiving holiday!