It's difficult sometimes to resist the temptation to give in to cute pets who plead at the holiday dinner table for a scrap or two of the delicious food we are enjoying. Many pet owners give in too easily to the vocal demands and adorable antics of their animal companions with the thought that only one or two goodies won't harm them. Before you sit down to feast, you can help reduce your pet's temptation for begging and stealing food, by feeding them before your guests arrive. One of the easiest ways to avoid trouble is to make sure your guests know the pet rules and discourage them from feeding critters scraps from the table. The best approach is to make sure any animal is occupied with a chew toy or playmates in another room.
Some of the biggest food hazards to pets on Thanksgiving include:
- Rich, fatty foods (turkey skins, gravy, etc.) can contribute to pancreatitis. This inflammation of the digestive gland is painful and serious–possibly requiring emergency veterinary assistance.
- Cracked bones can splinter and cause tears or obstruction in a pet's digestive tract.
- Baking strings (usually wrapped around turkey legs) can create trouble if ingested by your pet.
- Onions in holiday stuffing can lead to canine anemia if consumed by your dog.
- Grapes and raisin toxins can cause kidney failure.
- Chocolate if ingested can kill your pet.
- Caffeine and alcohol are also toxic for pets
- Keep all goodies out of reach!
If your pet still feels a need to beg for food from the table, you can also use a pet gate or play pen to house the pet nearby, while providing a safe barrier until the meal if finished. Don't forget that once the table is cleared, make sure pets cannot get to scraps or bones. Keep leftover food out of reach and in tightly closed containers. Make sure garbage cans are secure to keep critters so they are safe from e-coli and unable to chew on leftover tinfoil.
According to animal experts, there can be other dangerous or even deadly consequences for pets during the holidays. Holiday threats to animals include:
- Seasonal decorations
- Ornamental lighting
- Ingestion of inappropriate or toxic items
- Candle flames
It never hurts to keep your emergency vet clinic or veterinary hospital number handy. You never know when you will encounter a disaster due to a delinquent guest or persistent pet. Good sense and preventative safety measures are the best strategies to help insure that you have a happy and healthy holiday.