Thanksgiving day is often filled with family (including dogs!), friends, food and fun. Take care to remember your dogs, their safety and well being as you prepare for and enjoy the holiday.
Avoid the frenzy and plan ahead:
Keep your calm to help your dog avoid anxiety
- Consider shopping the week before. Food check-list? Recipes? Various pans and utensils needed? Remember, some grocery stores run out of supplies, even in 2015.
- Do you need someone to dog-sit?
- Is your dog traveling with you? Put their crate in the car, pack up their leashes, food, meds and more.
What Thanksgiving treats are safe for dogs?
- Green beans – raw or cooked. Our dogs love them.
- Carrots – most dogs love the crunchy flavor. Our little dog, Duncan doesn’t tolerate carrots as they make him vomit. Test treats ahead of time.
- Turkey – small bits of white meat. IF you didn’t cook in onions.
- Apple slices – not the whole apple.
- Pumpkin – plain canned pumpkin (without spices). A little goes a long way. It’s fiber — just sayin’. This can be frozen with dog kibble or meat in Kongs for tasty treats.
Remember, dogs do crazy (actually, predictable) things:
- One year our black Lab, Jazz ate 1 ½ dozen chocolate chip cookies that were cooling on the counter. Let’s just say she met the hydrogen peroxide filled syringe. Chocolate is toxic to most dogs. The real dark chocolate and lots of butter in my cookies could lead to pancreatitis. NOTE: what breed is very susceptible to pancreatitis? Schnauzers.
- Another year I found our little Boston Terror (yes spelled correctly) on top of the table, ready to eat the entire stick of butter. Lucky for him all of the food (think stuffing filled with onions) had been cleared – and I saw him before he even had a lick.
- Keep an eye out for rubber bands, cooking twine (and other items used to keep that turkey body cavity closed) as these can cause what we call linear foreign bodies. These cause extreme damage to the inside of the intestines often causing perforation and peritonitis. Surgery and intensive care is necessary.
- Plastic wraps and tin foil covered in tasty turkey grease or sweet apple pie are irresistible. We don’t want gastrointestinal obstructions or irritations.
- Many dogs have to visit the animal emergency center because they got into the overflowing garbage and ate some turkey bones.
Dogs thrive on routine:
- Go for your usual walk (who wants to clean up diarrhea during a party?)
- Keep their medications on schedule. Our little Zeus is a diabetic. He knows when his Insulin injection is due and stands waiting. Is your diabetic dog’s emergency sugar source (Karo syrup, frosting works in a pinch) with you if you’re away from home?
After all the good eats:
- Blow out candles
- Turn off warming plates/coffee pots
- Put up the food
- Then head out for a hike & go watch the game
Now for those toxic foods:
I’ve met a few dogs who could eat anything, including a bag of chocolates, without an issue. These dogs may have a unique genetic ability to tolerate foods toxic to most dogs. Testing foods (known to causes severe discomfort and even death) on your own dogs can take you on a trip to emergency or worse. We have so many options to feed our dogs – so it’s best to avoid the following:
- Turkey skin is quite fatty compared to what your pet normally eats and it can cause digestive upset and possible pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas with symptoms of severe vomiting and abdominal pain).
- Turkey bones can splinter if ingested and possibly perforate the digestive tract. So, if you sneak your pet a little meat don’t worry, but avoid the skin and bones.
- Yeast breads (yeast on its own or in dough)– Just like yeast rises in bread, it will also expand and rise in your dog’s stomach. While mild cases will cause gas and discomfort, too much of it could potentially cause bloat or worse, rupture their stomach and intestines.
- Corn on the Cob: Want to block your dog’s intestine? The corn is digested, but the cob gets lodged in the small intestine, and if it’s not removed surgically, can prove fatal to your dog.
- Onions and chives – No matter what form they’re in (dry, raw, cooked, powder, within other foods), onions are poisonous for dogs, and even worse for cats. They contain disulfides and sulfoxides (thiosulphate), both of which can cause anemia and damage red blood cells.
- Potatoes and Yams themselves are not harmful but consider the potential toxicity of onions, butter, raisins, nutmeg or other ingredients that may be added.
- Raisins and grapes: can cause severe kidney failure. Only a handful may be harmful.
- Chocolate: It’s not just the caffeine, which is enough to harm your dog by itself, but theobromine and theophylline, which can be toxic, causing panting, vomiting, and diarrhea, and damage your dog’s heart and nervous systems.
- Xylitol – is a sugar alcohol found in gum, candies, baked goods, and other sugar-substituted items. NEWS FLASH: it is in many peanut butters now. It causes no apparent harm to humans, but is extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts can cause low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure, even death for your dogs.
- Alcohol: Alcohol can cause not only intoxication, lack of coordination, poor breathing, and abnormal acidity, but potentially even coma and/or death.
- Apple Seeds – The casing of apple seeds are toxic to a dog as they contain a natural chemical (amygdalin) that releases cyanide when digested. This is really only an issue if a large amount is eaten and the seeds are chewed up by your dog. Thus avoid giving dogs the apple cores while making an apple pie.
- Macadamia nuts – These contain a toxin that can inhibit locomotor activities, resulting in weakness, panting, swollen limbs, and tremors as well as possible damage to your dog’s digestive, nervous, and muscle systems.
What if you cannot reach your veterinarian?
In an emergency when your family veterinarian cannot be reached you should contact your local animal emergency clinic or call the animal poison hotline at 888-232-8870. You can also try the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435