feast or foul?

Thanksgiving is a holiday filled with traditions, from enjoying treasured family recipes to tossing around the football — or indulging in an afternoon nap! It’s also a prime time for a common crime: two-legged family members slipping morsels of high-fat human comfort foods under the table to canine co-conspirators and feline friends. And boy, are they ever grateful, rewarding us with endless wags and purrs! But those secret snacks can put pets at risk for a calamitous condition: pancreatitis.

Inflammation of the pancreas can occur when your pet’s daily diet of blander fare is interrupted by huge, high-fat, high-calorie helpings. That inflammation can lead to symptoms like nausea and vomiting or more serious consequences like organ failure. While it may seem doggone nuts to think just one meal could do such damage, it’s not out of the question — especially if your pup is chowing down on buttery potatoes, gravy-drenched turkey thigh and sugary sweet potato pie.

To keep the feast from turning “fowl” for your whole family, follow these simple steps for Thanksgiving food safety:

no bones about it

You might think it’s better to throw your dog a bone or let your cat clean off the carcass, but it’s more hazardous than helpful! Turkey and poultry bones are hollow and can easily splinter, causing obstruction or dangerous damage to their mouth throat, stomach or intestines. Ban bones from the bowl entirely to be on the safe side.

the meal deal

If you can’t resist including Fido in the feasting, pile his plate – a small one! – with safe, vet-approved victuals, including white-meat turkey (no skin), boiled broccoli or carrots and canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling). Ingredients to avoid: onions and garlic, which have toxins that can cause anemia; and sage, which contains essential oils that can upset your pet’s tummy. Talk to your vet in the weeks before the big day to get a proper sense of portions so your pup doesn’t unintentionally overindulge.


When it’s time to clear the table and dispose of the dishes, make sure furry family members don’t try to lend a helping paw with the cleanup. Make sure all your peels, trimmings and unwanted leftovers go into a trash can with a lid – or better yet, just take it outside, again to a tightly lidded bin!

get cooking

Want to offer seasonal yummies that are easy on your pet’s tummy? Point your paws to Petplan’s Vets for Pets blog for a seasonal pet-friendly menu of delights like Quiche Bites, Turkey Meatballs and Pumpkin Smoothies, then whip up a dog and cat Thanksgiving feast! All of these can be made in advance, so you can keep your attention on the turkey and trimmings!