Thanksgiving Favorites?? Not So Much For Our Pets
– by Kali Murbarger, Veterinary Assistant
Our hospital mission is “striving to promote healthy pets through highly educated owners.” When considering my blog entry for this Thanksgiving, I reflected back to our hospital mission and my mind began racing! My thoughts were prefect- sharing knowledge of what holiday foods can be unsafe for your pets!!
Thanksgiving is a holiday that we enjoy for family time and the amazing tasty food consumed. Who knew some of these foods we love would turn out to be unhealthy and even dangerous to our dogs and cats? Our Veterinarians do not recommend owners share any part of Thanksgiving dinner with their pets. By following this easy tip, you will keep them safe and avoid a possible trip to the Emergency Hospital.
Don’t be shy, either: stress to your guests, “please don’t feed the pets!!”
♦ Fatty foods like ham, bacon, turkey skin, and any meat fat can lead to pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas which causes extreme abdominal pain for our pets. We often see pets come in for vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain after they eat a fatty human meal. Foods that taste the best can lead to the worse for our fur babies.
♦ Bones are not only a choking hazard but can splinter in the digestive tract. If a bone splinters it can puncture the stomach or intestines as it tries to pass through the body; this is an emergency!!
♦ Corn on the cob is a potential choking hazard and can get wedged in the digestive tract requiring an emergency surgery. Don’t panic if you simply drop a corn grain or two as corn is fine for dogs to eat.
♦ Onions, chives, and garlic are all in the same plant family, and used heavily in a lot of our dishes. Garlic is the most potent, but even a small amount of onion can cause illness. This includes powdered garlic as well as fresh garlic, and any onion soup or onion soup mix! It is important to know it can take up to 4 days before our pets show signs of being ill. Nausea, diarrhea, weakness, and fast breathing would be signs to look for at home.
♦ Grapes and raisins may not be seen in the popular common thanksgiving foods but I’ve seen some current receipts with them as an ingredient. What makes a grape toxic is unknown but even in small amounts can cause sudden kidney failure in some pets. This information is still being studied to help us understand more about grape toxicity. If pet does ingest grapes you should induce vomiting right away and visit your veterinarian.
Even after dinner, thanksgiving desserts can be harmful too.
♦ Chocolate comes in many different types, and is especially enticing to us and our pets. The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. Chocolate ingestion can result in significant illness signs depending on the amount of chocolate consumed. The most common clinical signs are vomiting and diarrhea, increased panting or restlessness, and a racing heart rate. It may take hours for us to see poisoning from chocolate and the symptoms may last for days. If a toxic amount of chocolate was consumed your pet should be seen by your veterinarian immediately. If you are unsure if the amount could be toxic, please call us right away and we can help.
♦ Macadamia nuts are a no-no for our pups. Ingestion can cause vomiting, weakness, high body temperatures, and depression. Luckily, if your dog ingests these delicious nuts the clinical signs usually resolve within 48 hours but its always a good idea to consult with your veterinary team.
♦ Nutmeg used to add spice to pumpkin pie is okay in small amounts but if a large quantity is consumed it can cause psychological effects.
♦ Xylitol is safe for humans but extremely toxic to our dogs. Widely used as a sugar substitute, it’s commonly used in baked goods, some candies, and sugar-free gum. Xylitol can cause vomiting, weakness, trouble walking, tremors, seizures, and coma. If your pet gets even the smallest amount they need to be seen by a veterinarian quickly.
Many kinds of human food have the potential to cause GI upset which can result in vomiting and diarrhea. We know it’s hard to refuse those cute begging faces but we must say no for their safety. We are always thankful for our clients and their wonderful pets!