Thanksgiving is nearly here once again and for most of us that means wonderful aromas wafting through the house and a table groaning under the weight of turkey and other favorite dishes. There will be family and friends gathered ’round and perhaps a slice of pumpkin pie. But, what about your dog? What does Thanksgiving mean for him?

 

Well, if you’re lucky, it won’t mean a trip to the vet because you’ve overfed him or given him some sharp bones to eat! Most of us want to share Thanksgiving with our dogs but, the truth is, Thanksgiving can be a dangerous time for pets. Rich foods can cause gastrointestinal upsets or even pancreatitis. Giving your dog a cooked turkey bone can lead to a punctured esophagus or other puncture in your dog’s stomach or G.I. Tract, so no cooked bones! Here are some other tips for you and your dog this Thanksgiving.

 

  • According to one poll, 56 percent of pet owners said they gave their pets Thanksgiving leftovers but you need to be careful about what you share with your dog. For instance, turkey is great. It’s an excellent protein that is nice and lean – as long as you remove the skin. And be sure to avoid giving your dog any cooked bones. Cooked bones are brittle so they can easily snap and form jagged edges that are harmful to dogs.

 

  • Say no to onion and garlic. Many Thanksgiving dishes contain onion, garlic, leeks, and scallions. If your dog eats these ingredients in any large amount, it can be harmful to him. These items are all members of the allium family and they have been linked to a form of anemia in dogs. Sure, you may occasionally give your dog something that contains garlic and it doesn’t hurt him, but don’t give your dog any foods that contain much of these ingredients.

 

  • Yes to veggies. It’s fine to give your dog some leftovers of green beans, cranberries, or even macaroni and cheese (if he can eat cheese). Mashed potatoes are good, too. Dogs enjoy many vegetable dishes. However, watch out for the “extras” and fancy fixin’s – those things added to a dish to make it special. For instance, if you add garlic or sour cream to your mashed potatoes, it could make it off limits for your dog. If you use cranberry sauce that has a lot of sugar added, it won’t be so good for your dog. If you would like to give your dog some veggies, try setting aside a bowl for your dog before you add the extras to it.

 

  • Avoid fat. Just avoid giving your dog extra fat, in general. While we like to see good named fat sources in dog food, it’s not a good idea to feed your dog leftovers that contain generous amounts of fat at Thanksgiving. Most dogs aren’t used to eating so much fat all at one time. The result can be an attack of acute pancreatitis. Vets report that the days following Thanksgiving are some of their busiest of the year for pancreatitis in dogs.

 

  • Be careful with other foods. There are some foods you should never give to dogs such as chocolate, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, pits from cherries and other pitted foods, and the artificial sweetener xylitol.

 

  • As for the pumpkin pie? Well, canned pumpkin, minus the spiced pie filling would be better for your dog. And dogs really don’t need whipped cream.

 

  • And one more time: No Cooked Bones! It’s fine if you would like to give your dog a raw bone such as a turkey neck. Raw bones are comparatively soft and easy for your dog to chew and digest. They won’t break off into jagged pieces when he chews them.

 

You can see there are many delicious things you can share with your dog at Thanksgiving. Just give some thought and care to what you give your dog and you won’t end up taking him to see the vet.

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