Thanksgiving is a holiday to share gime and food with family and loved ones, but we need to be extremely careful about sharing holiday food with our pets, since allowing them to eat the wrong things can be dangerous. In fact, it probably shouldn’t be shared with them at all.
High-fat foods are difficult for animals to digest, and poultry bones can be a choking hazard as well as damage their digestive tracts. The fat content of turkey and especially turkey skin can lead to pancreatitis, and the onions, raisins and grapes found in many recipes are toxic to most pets.
So no matter how seriously their puppy-dog or Puss-In-Boots eyes melt your heart, keep the holiday feast on the table, grabbing any chunks that fall to the carpet as quickly as you can.
Of course the same goes for any kind of dessert, as chocolate contains an enzyme so difficult for dogs to process that it can lead to seizures. The artificial sweetener xylitol can be deadly for both dogs and cats, as it can cause liver damage and dangerously low blood sugar.
These foods will still be tempting for your pets, so it’s critical that you keep the trash as well as the cuisine out of their reach, putting the turkey carcass and other remnants in a closed trash bag in a bin outside they won’t be able to reach or behind a locked door.
Make it clear to everyone at the dinner that the pets should not be eating any “people food” and do make pet-appropriate treats available for visitors to give to the furry family members, if you’re comfortable with them doing that. In some instances it may be necessary to keep your pets away from the action to keep them safe, though it may not be your first choice.
Use caution with decorative plants or fresh flowers. They will add a beautiful touch to your table, but many of them can be toxic for pets as well, including lilies, chrysanthemums, hydrangea, gardenias. Check the ASPCA’s lists of plants toxic to dogs and cats for guidance or simply keep them away from all table decorations.
Symptoms that could indicate your pet is suffering from some kind of poisoning include: sudden changes in behavior, depression, pain, vomiting, or diarrhea. Contact your veterinarian or local emergency pet clinic immediately.
Greater Prescott’s emergency pet clinic is Yavapai Emergency Animal Hospital — 7876 E. Florentine Rd., Prescott Valley — 928-460-7282 — www.yeah.vet
You may also want to call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline: 888-426-4435
Source: American Veterinary Medical Association (www.avma.org)