The winter holidays can be fun for the whole family, but let’s make sure it’s not a dangerous time for your pet. Thanksgiving centers around food, so here are a few tips to protect your pet and avoid a visit to the veterinarian.
Cut the fat:
Fatty or rich foods like beef fat, poultry skin and gravy can cause severe gastrointestinal issues in pets, including:
- Excessive gas
- Serious diseases like pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is a severe inflammation of the pancreas, an organ that produces digestive enzymes. On the mild side, pancreatitis can cause vomiting and a decrease in appetite, but can potentially be fatal.
If you want to treat your pet, it’s best to stick to a pet treat or a couple of small bites of lean poultry or unsalted/unbuttered vegetables.
Bones are bad:
Although bones from our holiday birds look good to pets, they are dangerous and can cause intestinal upset and may even splinter once digested.
Watch the packaging:
Make sure you dispose of any turkey or other food packaging quickly and appropriately.
All strings, plastic holders and bags that have a meat smell to them can be very attractive to a pet. Once ingested, these items can cause damage or blockage of the intestines.
Chocolate is particularly toxic:
Consider all the cookie and desserts offered during the holidays, many of which contain chocolate.
Chocolate is dangerous for dogs in particular because it contains theobromine, a caffeine-like ingredient that can be toxic to your pet. Dogs are not able to metabolize theobromine as quickly as humans. Complications include:
- Digestive issues
- Slow heart rate
Later stages of theobromine poisoning include epileptic-like seizures and death. Keep your pet away from dark, semi-sweet and baker’s chocolate because they contain higher levels of theobromine.