3 Thanksgiving Dog Health Hazards We love to treat our pets as family members, unfortunately it can be dangerous to feed them like human partners. BY JESSE VASQUEZ
Be careful not to feed your dog the wrong thing on Thanksgiving.
“ Turkey bones are extremely dangerous because cooked bones can easily splinter and cause choking or get caught in your dog’s intestines.”
This Thanksgiving, we Americans will polish off 46 million turkeys, 30 million green bean casseroles, and countless other calorie-crammed comfort foods, according to according to the National Turkey Federation, a trade association; and Del Monte, seller of canned green beans. After all, feasting on Thanksgiving is as American as apple—er, pumpkin—pie. But as wonderful as our eating traditions are, they’ve also created another kind of not-so-pleasant tradition: rushing our beloved pups off to the vet after they’ve indulged in an unhealthy, sometimes poisonous Thanksgiving feast.
It can be hard to resist those hopeful puppy-dog eyes begging for just a scrap of the good stuff on your plate. However, eating the wrong human foods could result in serious digestive issues—especially with fatty foods—and canine pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas that can be deadly.
So how do we avoid sending Fido to the doggy ER while still letting him take part in the family fun? Here are the top three doggy health hazards to avoid this holiday:
Doggy Hazard #1: Left-Out Leftovers
Many dogs get sick not from being fed directly, but because they climb up on the table and eat large quantities of food when pet parents are not paying attention. This is, of course, a danger any time of year, but is especially acute on Thanksgiving due to the sheer quantity of food available for the taking.
Doggy Hazard #2: Food No-Nos
Certain foods like turkey skin, gravy, and mashed potatoes with butter, which are high in fat, can give your dog an upset stomach, diarrhea, or pancreas issues.
Others, like raisins and onions, are flat-out poisonous. And even if you’re not feeding these harmful foods by the handful, remember that many common Thanksgiving dishes may contain them as ingredients.
Finally, turkey bones are extremely dangerous because cooked bones can easily splinter and cause choking or get caught in your dog’s intestines, which could require emergency surgery.
Doggy Health Hazard #3: Dental Damagers
In an effort to keep their pups happy throughout the human festivities, many well-meaning dog parents try offering a longer lasting treat to chew on, but some of these come with their own risks. For example, plastic bones, ice cubes, antlers, and bully sticks can all cause painful tooth fractures. There are, however, certain chew treats that actually promote dental health. These will keep your pup occupied during the big meal and keep you from having to turn away a canine Oliver Twist begging for scraps.
If you have an especially hyper dog, a meal-time chew treat may not be quite enough to temper the excitement of all the people and smells. Try taking him on a long walk or throwing a Frisbee in the yard before guests arrive or have the kids play with him around the house. The exercise will help him be more subdued amidst all the craziness that is Thanksgiving Day. Bone-Appetit!
Jesse Vasquez is a doggy health and wellness advocate for Milk-Bone, in association with Big Heart Pet Brands in San Francisco, CA.