Thanksgiving is an incredible holiday to share with your friends and family – but it also presents some unique threats to your dog or cat’s health. In this article, we’re going to give you a handy list of foods to avoid feeding your pet. You’ll also learn how these foods affect your pet’s overall health – such as whether the food causes an upset stomach, or something potentially more serious.
Foods that are rich and fatty can cause severe gastrointestinal issues in pets such as vomiting, diarrhea, and Pancreatitis. Sadly, we see a marked spike in Pancreatitis cases around Thanksgiving, which is a severe inflammation of the Pancreas. Mild cases cause vomiting and decreased appetite, while severe cases can be fatal.
This is why it’s so important to make sure your pet doesn’t have access to traditional rich or fatty Thanksgiving foods such as poultry skin, buttery side dishes, gravy, or beef fat. On its own, turkey skin is already difficult for pets to digest. But on Thanksgiving, it usually has added oils, butter and spices rubbed in, which makes it even more difficult for your pet’s stomach. If you do decide to feed your pet Turkey, make sure it doesn’t have skin on it, and cut it up into bite-sized pieces. Also, it’s better to feed your pet white meat rather than dark meat – white meat is easier for your pet to digest.
Please do not give your pet bones from Thanksgiving. Bird bones are hollow and break easily. Cooked bird bones are often brittle and can splinter easily, and can get lodged inside your pet’s digestive system, causing severe damage to your pet’s intestines. This can cause infection, intestinal blockage, and even death if not treated appropriately.
Some pet owners aren’t aware how dangerous raw foods are for pets. Uncooked (or undercooked) poultry can contain the bacteria salmonella. Raw eggs (commonly used in batters) can also contain salmonella. Salmonella poisoning is a serious and potentially fatal condition in dogs or cats, and usually presents with vomiting or bloody diarrhea.
Holiday Plants & Decorations
Some flowers and festive plants are actually very dangerous for dogs or cats to ingest. We’ll give you a list of some of the more common ones below, but the safest route is to simply keep your pets away from all plants and table decorations.
- Baby’s Breath
- Sweet William
- Ferns (some, but not all)
- Holly Berries
- For a full list of plants poisonous to dogs, see the ASPCA’s list here.
- For a full list of plants poisonous to cats, see the ASPCA’s list here.
Foil and Plastic Wrap
We’d advise you to dispose of these as soon as you’re done using them. There are two risks that aluminum foil and plastic wrap carry. First, your pet will have a chance to lick the fatty substances that the foil or wrap was holding, which can cause the issues we talked about in the Fatty Foods section. Second, and possibly more alarmingly, if your pet manages to swallow the foil or wrap, it can cause intestinal obstruction. This is a very serious and potentially fatal condition, and often requires surgery.
Delicious desserts are everywhere on Thanksgiving (thank goodness!). But pets do not handle sweets well. Chocolate can be very harmful for pets (especially dark or baking chocolate), and the common artificial sweetener xylitol (commonly used in gum or sugar-free baked goods) can be deadly if consumed even in small amounts. Please make sure to keep all sweets out of reach of your pets.
If your dog or cat ingests raw bread dough, the yeast inside it continues to convert the sugars in the dough into carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. This is dangerous for a couple reasons. First, alcohol is toxic to pets. And second, and more seriously, the carbon dioxide gas can cause bloating. Bloating can actually be extremely dangerous in pets – it’s a potentially fatal condition that requires immediate veterinary care.
If your pet does ingest any of these items, please call us right away. We are always here for you. From our family here at Harbor Pines, we wish you and your family an incredible Thanksgiving holiday!