Thanksgiving Fur All: Tips to avoid a disaster

Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on Nov 16 2011

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, because I love getting together with friends and family to celebrate all that we are thankful for, and of course, chowing down on some good eats!

One of the things I am thankful for is the health of my pets. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, my first baby is my Lab mix, Katie, who I rescued from the pound almost 14 years ago. She’s getting older, but is enjoying relatively good health in her golden years. My two cats are also healthy, despite being crazy as loons!

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November is a time to count our blessings, and as you’re preparing your Thanksgiving feast and sitting down to eat, follow these safety tips to keep you and your pets far away from the vet clinic this season:

Bird is the Word

Turkey is the main attraction at Thanksgiving, and your pets will put on their cutest faces to tempt you into giving them a bite or two. Remember that raw or undercooked turkey can harbor salmonella, which can cause the same disastrous gastrointestinal affects in our pets as it does in us.

A Side of Danger

Onions and garlic have a supporting role in stuffing and other side dishes, but can be dangerous when ingested by our pets, especially cats. In our feline friends, onion ingestion can lead to hemolysis (or destruction) of red blood cells, leading to dangerous anemia.

Ditch the Table Scraps

We tend to overeat at Thanksgiving, but overindulging our pets with table scraps can lead to severe inflammation of the pancreas called pancreatitis, which can be severe enough to warrant hospitalization and can be fatal. Too much of a good thing can also cause unwanted gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea and vomiting.

If you MUST treat your four-legged friends to a taste of Thanksgiving, stick to a bite or two of pet-safe veggies like broccoli or carrots, or a small taste of plain turkey. Consider putting these morsels into a Kong or other food-releasing toy while the family sits down to eat. Your pet will get a treat, and you’ll get to enjoy dinner without a beggar at your feet! For even more healthy fun, you can try your hand at preparing one of these pet-friendly Thanksgiving recipes.

Take Out the Trash

Keep track of the trash. Pets are notorious for trying to “clean up” after us, so make sure the lid stays on the trash can. If you’ve partaken in the new trend of deep-frying your turkey, keep the used oil way out of reach of your pet. One patient I will never forget is the dog who discovered a vat of used turkey-frying oil. What a mess!

Be thankful for the things you have, including the health of your four-legged family members. Follow the tips above to help stay thankfully away from the nearest veterinary emergency center! For added peace of mind this holiday season, you can protect your pets with a pet insurance policy from Petplan. That way, should your Turkey Day go fowl, you'll be protected.

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