The most common Thanksgiving dangers usually come in one of a few flavors:
- Toxic foods: What is delicious to us can hide ingredients that are poisonous to pets, like chocolate, grapes, raisins, currents, onions, garlic, macadamia nuts and artificial sweeteners like xylitol. That last one is especially deadly.
- Fatty foods: Butter, meat drippings, gravies, dark turkey meat and other fatty foods can cause gastrointestinal upset (diarrhea and vomiting). Worse yet, fatty foods can cause inflammation of the pancreas, a condition known as pancreatitis, which may require hospitalization.
- Obstructive foods: Bones, corncobs and twine from trussing the turkey may get stuck in the digestive tract, potentially requiring surgical removal. Yeast dough is also problematic, not only expanding dangerously in the stomach, but the alcohol from fermenting yeast is rapidly absorbed into your pet’s bloodstream, resulting in alcohol poisoning, posing a double danger.
- Decorations: Floral arrangements may contain flowers that are toxic to pets. Each plant can pose a different danger for different species. Some lilies may range from non-toxic to dangerous for dogs, most varieties can be deadly for cats—even the vase water and pollen can result in severe, acute kidney failure.
- Candles can also result in burns or get accidentally knocked over.
As every pet owner knows, dogs are very clever when it comes to getting to savory foods, so here are a few precautions you can take.
- Keep all food and drink out of reach. Make sure there aren’t chairs or other furniture nearby that pets can jump up on to reach higher surfaces. We know one Golden lab who stole the turkey right off the counter and raced outside with it hanging from his mouth! Fortunately, it was recovered before he’d gotten much of it and the guests were good sports about the teeth marks. And here’s a great suggestion from a dog trainer we know: make your pup a little special meal of their own to eat while you’re having your feast. A little turkey with some organic pumpkin is perfect.
- Consider blocking off the kitchen when you’re not around to supervise. This is especially a good idea if your pet is a Houdini at finding ways to get at supposedly unreachable food.
- Secure all garbage cans so that they can’t be knocked over or their lids knocked off.
- Remind children and guests not to give your pet any food. Have fun, pet-friendly treats available instead. (We have certain friends who always sneaks morsels to our doxies so we set down a place of dog treats in front of him every time he comes over.)
With all that said, have a wonderful holiday with your furry friends!