We wish all our human and animal friends a very happy and safe Thanksgiving! Via the ASPCA – with a few extra notes (in italics) by Dr. Elyse Hammer, an emergency services veterinarian at VCA SFVS – here are some pet-safety tips to keep in mind around the Thanksgiving holiday:
If you decide to feed your pet a little nibble of turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don’t offer her raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria.
Dr. Hammer adds: “We advise against feeding dark meat with skin, as this is higher in fat and can lead to pancreatitis. Skinless, lean white meat is the best if you really need to give your pet any turkey at all.”
Sage can make your Thanksgiving stuffing taste delish, but it and many other herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils.
No Bread Dough
Don’t spoil your pet’s holiday by giving him raw bread dough. According to ASPCA experts, when raw bread dough is ingested, an animal’s body heat causes the dough to rise in his stomach. As it expands, the pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring surgery.
Don’t Let Them Eat Cake
If you’re baking up Thanksgiving cakes, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs—they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.
Too Much of a Good Thing
A few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. However, don’t allow your pets to overindulge, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse—an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. In fact, it’s best keep pets on their regular diets during the holidays.
Secure your garbage (it may smell especially good and be very tempting to your animal friend), and keep turkey bones, string, foil/plastic wrap, etc. away from your pet.
A Feast Fit for a Kong
While the humans are chowing down, give your cat and dog their own little feast. Offer them Nylabones or made-for-pet chew bones. Or stuff their usual dinner—perhaps with a few added tidbits of turkey, vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans) and dribbles of gravy—inside a Kong toy. They’ll be happily occupied for awhile, working hard to extract their dinner from the toy.
A final but very important reminder from Dr. Hammer: As you are decorating for a Thanksgiving gathering, be sure to keep lilies out of the centerpieces; these flowers are found in many ready-made bouquets. They are a true danger!
- Credit/source for content: ASPCA Thanksgiving Safety Tips
- Additional holiday safety tips for cats and dogs
- More information on VCA SFVS’s 24/7 emergency service for dogs and cats