Thanksgiving is right around the corner and many of us will be getting together with family and friends to celebrate. For many of us, our pets are at the top of the list of things we are thankful for. Here are some tips to keep your furry family happy and healthy during the holiday gathering.
Turkey: Turkey is fine in small doses. Be sure to get a nice lean piece, free of skin and seasoning. Fatty foods can be difficult for animals to digest and can cause life-threatening pancreatitis. Too many spices or seasonings can also upset your pet’s tummy and may cause diarrhea. Even the bones can splinter and become troublesome for your pets digestive tract.
Onions: Onions can add lots of flavor to your holiday dishes but can be pretty harmful to your pets. Onions contain an ingredient that is toxic to cats and dogs called thiosulphate. When your pet eats an onion it may cause a hemolytic anemia which damages red blood cells. Some symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, breathlessness, and lethargy.
Yeast: Yeast found in bread doughs can pose a problem for both cats and dogs. Yeast converts the sugar in the dough into carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. This can cause painful gas, bloating, and even could even leave your pet intoxicated.
Desserts: I’m sure most of us have heard that chocolate is bad for dogs. What you may not know about though is xylitol. Xylitol is a common sugar substitute found in many sweets and desserts. Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs and can cause low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure, and can even be fatal if ingested. Even in very small doses, xylitol can be very dangerous to your pet, play it safe and be selfish with the desserts. Your pet will thank you.
Trash: There’s no doubt about it. Our pets are smart and certainly mischievous. You may have vowed to keep the table scraps away from your furry family member but they might have something different in mind. Always keep an eye on your pet and be sure scraps and trash are secured in a place your pet can’t get to them.
Make them a plate
We spoil our pets. You may just want your pet to be able to enjoy a special treat at dinner time. When given careful consideration there’s no reason you can’t make your pet a special plate on Thanksgiving. Start by giving them a portion of their normal pet food. Spoil them by adding a few small pieces of lean turkey meat, sweet potatoes, carrots, and green beans. Drizzle it all with a small amount of gravy and your pet can safely join the feast.
Remind your guests not to feed the pets and if you suspect your pet may be sick be sure to have the information you might need quickly on hand. Keep an eye out for sudden changes in your pet’s behavior. Have your vet’s emergency phone number close by or on the fridge. It’s also a good idea to have the ASPCA’s poison control number. The phone number for the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline is 888-426-4435.
Stress and anxiety
You know your pet best. It’s important to keep an eye out to make sure your pet is not feeling overwhelmed. Especially if your pet has been known to bite when they become nervous. If you think your pet is overwhelmed separate them from the noise and activity by putting them in a separate room or in their crate. Give them a toy to comfort them and keep them occupied.
Be mindful of exits
Even if your pets may not typically try to dart out the door every time it opens, all the commotion can inspire them to make a break for it. Make sure to keep a close eye on your pets as your greeting guests and answering the door.
Tags and microchips
If you typically keep your pet’s collar off today is the day to put it back on. While you’re at it take the time to double check that the information on their tags is up to date and visible. If your pet is microchipped make sure that information is current as well. In the awful event that your pet gets out, taking these steps greatly increases the chance they’ll be returned. If your pet isn’t microchipped, talk to your vet about this simple procedure. If animal control picks them up they will most likely scan the animal for a microchip.
Sources: ASPCA and AVMA