All the work that went into preparing Thanksgiving dinner this year, the fun, laughter, and company of family and friends, and now the delicious leftovers of the feast to contend with. But what about Fido? If your pets are anything like mine, they savor the sweet smells of the holiday season in the air, just waiting for that special morsel of “any” leftover to come their way. Until recently, I had thought it o.k. to feed my pets just about anything that I would feed my family, however, this could be further from the truth. Turns out, it’s not good to feed our pets certain foods from our Thanksgiving feast as some could make them very sick, or even be deadly to them. Our pets are part of our families and we must insure what we are feeding them is safe and not harmful, in addition to being delicious. Although it’s best to keep pets on their regular diets during the holidays, it’s o.k. to give them a small bit of boneless turkey, a taste of mashed potatoes and even a lick or two of pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce or gravy. KTLA reported that turkey bones can splinter and easily puncture a dog’s or cat’s internal organs, even fatally injuring them. They also warn about the effects of allium vegetables, as listed below.
The ASPCA, in their “Thanksgiving Safety Tips”, has recommended that, if you feed your pets a nibble or two of turkey, to make sure it’s boneless and not under-cooked, which may contain salmonella bacteria (as well as cake batter that includes raw eggs). As much as sage tingles our noses and stomachs, they say because of it and many other herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities, especially cats. Because an animal’s body heat causes raw bread dough to rise and expand in their stomachs, they may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring surgery. The ASPCA recommends not to let your pet overindulge in anything, as they could develop an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis.
Allium vegetables, according to the VegetarianSite, are identified as the following: onions, garlic, scallions, leeks, chives, and shallots. SciELO reports in their ‘Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases’ that the effects of ingesting foods containing alliums by pets can be deadly. They recommend not to feed (or store where pets can access) any food products that contain alliums to your pets, as those would be considered toxic poisons, specifically known as “allium species toxicosis” to any veterinarian. In dogs and cats, clinical signs of allium species toxicosis may appear within one day of consumption, with first signs usually gastroenteritis: vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, depression and dehydration. It could take a few days for your pet to display advanced signs of allium species toxicosis, including the loss of red blood cells, which are: pale mucous membranes, rapid respiratory rate, difficulty to breathe, lethargy, dark colored urine (reddish or brown), jaundice, weakness, and rapid heart rate depression, and hemosiderin in urine. Exercise intolerance and cold sensitivity may also be observed. No specific antidote is available for allium toxicosis; however, supportive care may be helpful including hospitalization, administration of intravenous fluids and blood transfusions.
In fact, there are a slew of foods the ASPCA reports can be dangerous to your pets: chocolate, coffee, caffeine, alcohol, avocado, macadamia nuts, grapes, raising, yeast dough, xylitol, milk, and salt. Entirely Pets adds the following are just as harmful: mushrooms, raw fish, milk and dairy products, cat food (not toxic, but nutritionally different to a dog’s needs), peaches, poinsettia, jimson weed (which can also be toxic to humans), and lantanna (a common perennial plant). Also toxic are: arsenic (in rat poison), insecticides, lead, matches, medications, plants, shampoo, shoe polish, slug and snail bait, strychnine and weed killers, tranquilizers, sharp objects or petroleum products (such as gasoline or lighter fluid), any acid, alkali, corrosive materials, and antifreeze. Ann Arbor Animal Hospital says even old, moldy or rotting food can cause tremors, seizures, and possibly death to pets. They add that even Pepto Bismol or Tums can harm our pets, as animals require different dose amounts than humans and also have breed specific sensitivities to medications leading to lower toxic doses.
Of course, if you think your pet has ingested anything that could prove harmful to them, seek advice from your local veterinary clinic or pet emergency hospital immediately. It’s always better to be prepared for unseen emergencies by knowing and having the phone number and address in a handy place, easily accessible. Entirely Pets offers advice on possible things you can do (such as when to induce vomiting in your pet) after recognizing signs that poisoning has occurred. Additionally, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine shows us how to administer pet CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), always a good thing to know if you feel your pet is in cardiac arrest. Signs and symptoms of cardiac arrest in your pet can be identified on the Dr. Larry Pet Vet site, and may be brought on by heat stroke.
Our pets bring love, comfort, affection, and joy to our lives. We should remember to keep their vaccinations and licenses up-to-date, in addition to checking the condition of collars and leashes for wear and tear or signs of distress, which could lead to your pet escaping, or becoming lost. Nails should be trimmed regularly and ears should be clear of mites and excess wax at all times. Proper flea and tic medication should be administered as necessary, in addition to preventative heart worm measures. We are their care takers, and that’s a job that should be a joy, not a burden in any way, ever. Enjoy your pets and keep them safe, happy, and healthy!
The ASPCA has provided a few safe pumpkin holiday treats your pets will find absolutely irresistible. Allrecipes and Petfinder have recipes your pets will enjoy just as much.
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