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Thanksgiving and Our Pets

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Article by Ben Fox

Photography by Ben Fox

We generally think of Thanksgiving as a holiday centered around family and food. And, while we want to include the furry members of our family in the feast, there are some parts of Thanksgiving that can put pets in danger.

 

Thanksgiving Food Dangers for Dogs and Cats

While it can be tempting for you or your guests to sneak the family pet a taste of the Thanksgiving meal, take note that some of the most common Thanksgiving dishes contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs and cats and can cause digestive upset.

Turkey While not technically toxic, avoid giving your dog fatty dark meat and skin (a small amount of unseasoned white meat is okay), and never give them any leftover bones. Not only are bones a choking hazard, but they can splinter inside your pet’s digestive tract and cause a trip to the emergency vet.

Alliums (Garlic, Onion, Leeks, and Chives)  These seasonings are toxic to dogs and cats and can cause destruction of their red blood cells. Avoid giving your pet a bite of anything cooked with these ingredients, including green beans, potatoes, stuffing, or gravy.

Desserts   You probably know that chocolate is toxic for dogs and cats, but so are raisins, currants, and the popular sugar-substitute xylitol. Xylitol, even in small amounts, is toxic to dogs.

Unbaked Dough Containing Yeast Unbaked yeast dough can cause a stomach blockage if a lot is eaten because the yeast in the dough makes it rise and expand. Plus, the natural fermentation of the yeast in your cat or dog’s stomach can cause alcohol poisoning. Keep your dough somewhere that your pet can’t get to, not right on the counter within your pet’s easy reach.

Feed Them Pet-Friendly Food Options Instead

While the list of foods to avoid might seem overwhelming, there are a few great options for some pet-friendly Thanksgiving treats. Raw fruits (NOT grapes!) and vegetables like baby carrots, green beans, apples, chunks of sweet potato, or pumpkin puree (not the sweetened, spiced pie filling) are great options. Just keep in mind, as with their people, moderation is key.



Pets are Nosey

Purses, suitcases or backpacks can also be possible hazards for your pets if they stick their noses where they don’t belong. Candy bars, sugar-free gum, and human medication can put a damper on your holiday plans if ingested by your pet. Keep bags off of the floor and keep the guest room door closed to protect your pets.

By practicing these Thanksgiving pet safety tips, you and your pet can enjoy a safe and happy holiday.


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