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Thanksgiving Safety

10 Tips for Keeping Your Pets Safe on Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving centers around food, and who doesn’t want to share the holidays with their pet? In one poll, 56 percent of pet owners admitted to sharing Thanksgiving table scraps with their pets. Adding lean protein and vegetables to your pet’s diet may be great, but please be aware that there are also hidden dangers in holiday fare. Below are 10 tips to keep Thanksgiving safe for your pet (and avoid a trip to the Veterinarian).

  1. Yes to lean turkey meat. Turkey is a great source of lean protein. Unless your pet is on a restricted allergen diet, skinless turkey is OK.
  2. Yes to vegetables. Vegetables are a good, low-calorie source of fiber, and potatoes are a great, filling vegetable to share with your pet. Just be aware that cheese, sour cream, butter, onions, and gravies are no-no’s.
  3. No to fat. Avoid turkey skin, fat and gravy. Excess fat can cause gastrointestinal issues in pets, including: vomiting, diarrhea and pancreatitis.
  4. No to bones. Bones are attractive to pets but can cause severe problems, including gastrointestinal upset, obstruction or even perforation (which can be life-threatening).
  5. No to packaging. Make sure you dispose of any turkey or other packaging quickly and appropriately. Strings and bags that have a meat smell to them can be very attractive to a pet but can cause intestinal obstruction.
  6. No to chocolate! Chocolate, particularly baking chocolate, is dangerous for dogs because it contains theobromine, a caffeine-like ingredient that can be toxic and can lead to severe problems including gastrointestinal upset, hyperexcitability, a fast heart rate and even seizures. In high doses, chocolate is life-threatening. Make sure your pet does not ingest any chocolate, especially the baking kind.
  7. No to alliums (onions, garlic, leeks, scallions). While small, well-cooked portions of these foods can be okay if your pet is used to it, ingesting these foods in large quantities can lead to toxic anemia.
  8. No to grapes. Grapes and raisins can be toxic to pets. The fruit has been shown to cause kidney failure in dogs.
  9. No to xylitol. While you may be making the healthier choice by cooking with artificial sweeteners, sweeteners containing xylitol are poisonous to animals, and potentially deadly to dogs.
  10. No to alcohol. What we people may consider a small amount can be toxic for an animal. Keep in mind that alcohol poisoning can occur in pets from atypical items like fruit cake as well as unbaked bread.

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