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Safety

When Pets Eat Like Pigs on Turkey Day

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With Thanksgiving fast approaching, pet owners should be reminded that festive foods and four legged friends don’t mix.

It’s a time for sharing but don’t share the holiday meal with your pets.

Feeding pets table scraps can be a recipe for trouble.

-A pet with a turkey bone lodged in his system may not show symptoms for 1 or 2 days.

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-Turkey bones are hollow and break easily, splintering into sharp pieces, which, when chewed, can cause blockage and perforate the intestinal tract. If symptoms do occur they may include loss of appetite, depression, diarrhea or vomiting. While the bone may pass by itself, sometimes it must be surgically removed.

-Even if you don’t feed your pets from the table, it’s possible they might help themselves to untended food when no one is looking.

-Besides the dangers associated with overeating, turkey sitting out too long at room temperature can cause salmonella organisms to multiply, poisoning the pet.

One year, the day after Thanksgiving, two dachshunds came into the clinic after snatching the leftover holiday turkey off a coffee table in the middle of the night.  Another year a beagle ate a whole ham that was left lying around. It was never determined how these pets with their short legs could reach all this food or why hams and turkeys are being left untended but the result was three sick puppies

So be aware of your pet’s abilities. Several years back, someone’s pet pig learned how to open the refrigerator door and ended up eating everything inside, making a proverbial “pig of itself” and subsequently changing the expression “sick as a dog” to “sick as a pig.”

It’s not just gorging on the main course that causes problems. Many of the foods involved with the Thanksgiving dinner are dangerous, even fatal, to dogs. Here’s a list of the most common substances:

  • Chocolate– especially baking chocolate, can be lethal
  • Onions – can destroy a dog’s red blood cells, leading to anemia.
  • Rich, fatty foods– such as turkey skin or gravy can cause pancreatitis, and inflammation of a digestive gland, and can be very painful and serious.
  • Coffee– watch out for grounds and whole beans.
  • Alcohol-behavioral changes, staggering, excitement, decreased reflexes even death
  • Xylitol-a common artificial sweetener in desserts and sugarless chewing gum, is showing up more frequently in all kinds of food products, even peanut butter.

And it’s not just food that can cause problems during the holiday. You may be thankful for family and friends but your pet may be wary, even frightened of a lot of strange, new people coming in the house.  If your pet is not comfortable around new faces keep them in a separate room while guests arrive. Make introductions slowly and one at a time.

And make sure while you’re welcoming people inside the house your pet is not running outside taking advantage of a frequently open door.

Thanksgiving is just the first act in the annual holiday show. Christmas and New Years Eve, with their own pet pitfalls and hazards are just around the corner. More about that next month!

 

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