The holidays are here and with so many tasty treats to tempt our pets, it’s not surprising that our holiday feasts cause the majority of Thanksgiving-related pet emergencies.
Here are some risks for pets that are common to this time of year:
Butter and fat from meat may make our food more flavorful, but they also make human food riskier for our fur babies. Food with high fat content may cause gastrointestinal upset like diarrhea and vomiting. Worst yet, a spike in intake of fatty foods can cause inflammation of the pancreas, known as pancreatitis, and which could require hospitalization and or medication for the remainder of an animal’s life.
Bones, corncobs, and the twine used for cooking meats may get stuck in an animal’s throat and/or digestive tract; causing both a choking hazard and the possibility of bone shards perforating the small intestine, which could mean emergency surgery to save the pet’s life.
I strongly advise that you NOT give your dog or cat cooked bones, especially turkey or pork bones, which in addition to lodging in the throat, can splinter and penetrate your pet’s intestines, potentially causing a fatal infection.
If you want to give your pets bones, feed them raw turkey, chicken or duck necks that are appropriate for their size. They are good for cleaning their teeth and can help strengthen them as well.
Toxic foods are a risk the whole year round! There are some foods our pets should never eat including chocolate, grapes, raisins, uncooked yeast, nuts, and alcohol. Also toxic are artificial sweeteners like Xylitol.
If you are concerned that your animal has ingested something potentially harmful, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) is a great resource as it is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call (888) 426-4435.
Here are some tips to keep your fur babies healthy and safe during the holidays:
- Keep food, treats, sweets, and drinks out of reach
- NO table scraps – even though we may think it is a nice treat for our pets, it is better to be on the safe side and avoid feeding table scraps to your cat or dog. If you want to give them something special, you could offer your pets a lean treat like cooked plain green beans or carrots.
- Secure all garbage bags and bins
- Remind children and guests to not give your pet any human foods/treats.
- Keep the vet’s phone number handy- have the number of the closest emergency veterinarian’s office on hand just in case anything happens.