Thanksgiving meal safety for pets can protect against pancreatitis in pets

Are turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce on your mind yet? For humans, Thanksgiving often means indulgence and delicious foods we splurge on once a year. But, as you think about what to fill your plate with, take a moment to consider your pets and Thanksgiving meal safety for them.

It’s fun to share with our pets at holiday time, but the Thanksgiving meal can pose a safety problem for them. Too much of a good thing, as well as specific foods common to the holiday, can cause problems from mild GI upset to nothing short of a life-threatening emergency. So before offering up your turkey dinner, let Dickinson Animal Hospital and Pet Wellness Center give you the skinny on Thanksgiving meal safety for your pets.

Food Safety

There are some specific foods that should be avoided in pets, as they can cause illness and even an emergency toxicity. Foods to avoid are:

  • Chocolate
  • Xylitol
  • Onions and garlic
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Alcohol
  • Yeasted (raw) bread dough
  • Sage and other herbs
  • Raw meat

Sometimes our pets can be – shall we say – indiscriminate when it comes to eating. On top of the meal on your plate, inedible objects can also cause major problems in the form of a foreign body obstruction. Corn cobs, aluminum foil, candy wrappers, and bones are among the most commonly eaten objects at holiday time. Make sure your pets can’t access these and other garbage by keeping trash cans tightly sealed and putting away leftovers immediately after eating.

Pancreatitis Concerns

You may regret eating too much during Thanksgiving time, but for pets, overindulgence in too many fatty foods can be a real danger.  Rich foods can be difficult for pets to digest, and can cause gastrointestinal upset and even a potentially life threatening condition called pancreatitis.

If your pet is exhibiting any of the following signs, he or she needs to be seen by a veterinarian immediately:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain
  • Depression
  • Difficulty breathing

Ways To Enjoy Thanksgiving Meal Safety

This may all seem daunting, but there are fun ways to share the Thanksgiving meal with your pets, safely. Many of the traditional vegetables and side dishes can be given to pets (in small amounts), without all the added sugar, salt, and fat. Here are some ideas:

  • A scoop of mashed, cooked, and plain sweet potato
  • Steamed plain green beans
  • A small piece of cooked, lean turkey breast (no skin)
  • A dollop of plain canned pumpkin (not pie filling)

There are other great ways to celebrate Thanksgiving with you pets that don’t involve food. A walk, hike, or playtime outside pre or post meal are all ways to burn off stress, get exercise and fresh air, and bond with your dog. Extra snuggles, brushing, and feather wand chases with your cat provide them with your love, attention, and indoor exercise too.
As always, don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions and concerns. We are so thankful for your pets and for you this Thanksgiving! Have a Happy Holiday, from our family to yours.