Keep pets thankful this Thanksgiving by not sharing table scraps

Thanksgiving food scraps are nothing for pets to be thankful for. Let clients and loved ones know the reasons why not to share the feast with dogs and cats.

By Tony McReynolds

Don’t be fooled by those puppy dog eyes at the Thanksgiving table: Your pet might think they want to join in the feast, but even small amounts of human favorites can be potentially life-threatening to dogs and cats.

Pass these Thanksgiving pet safety tips on to clients and loved ones so everyone can have a safer holiday:

  • Don’t share the fatty foods with your pets. Think you’re giving your pet a treat by sharing that turkey skin? Think again. Even a small amount of turkey or turkey skin can cause life-threatening pancreatitis. The fattier the foods, the harder they are for animals to digest. That includes gravy, mashed potatoes, and other buttery dishes.
  • What about the stuffing? Nope. Avoid any foods with onions, garlic, and raisins. These can hold serious health threats to pets.
  • Can kitty have some dessert? It’s best not to share sugary treats either. Chocolate can be harmful to pets. And artificial sweeteners like xylitol can be deadly when ingested by cats or dogs.
  • No licking spoons either. Resist the urge to let the dog lick the spoon from a homemade bread or cookie dough—in addition to the risk of an expanding mass of dough, there is a dangerous chance of alcohol toxicosis. Alcohol caused by fermentation of the yeast can lead to intoxication.

Turkey troubles

To avoid making a trip to the ER for a case of pancreatitis, follow the same food safety rules for pets as you do for your human guests.

  • Track turkey temperature. Turkey and other meats must be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit before consumption. Raw and undercooked meat and poultry carry germs that can cause serious illness in both people and pets.
  • Watch for bones. A bone can lodge in a pet’s esophagus, requiring emergency endoscopy or removal by surgery.
  • Raw turkey juices are dangerous. Juices from the turkey can make for delicious gravy when cooked, but raw juice contaminates counter space, other food, utensils, and anything else it touches. Watch for splatter, especially around pet dishes. Clean as you go to protect humans and pets.

Just because they can’t partake of the turkey and stuffing doesn’t mean pets can’t have a special day. Be sure that dinner guests know the no table-scrap rule. Favorite dog- or cat-approved treats, games, and toys can distract persuasive pups and kitties who know how to lay on the charm when it comes to begging for food at the table.

Here’s wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday!

Photo credit: © Iuliia Anisimova E+ via Getty Images Plus 

Disclaimer: The views expressed, and topics discussed, in any NEWStat column or article are intended to inform, educate, or entertain, and do not represent an official position by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) or its Board of Directors. 



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