Thanksgiving Dangers for Your Pet | PetFirst Pet Insurance
Pet Care & Health

Thanksgiving Dangers For Your Pet

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
7 years ago


Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate family – and furry family members are no exception.  While it is customary for families to integrate their pets into holiday celebrations, dog and cat owners should be aware of pet health risks during this season – especially during mealtime.

Here are a few tips to ensure pets stay healthy Thanksgiving weekend:

Preparing the meal

  • Be extremely cautious of how you discard items used to cook or clean the turkey.  Skewers, string, pop-up timers and roasting bags can easily be fished out of a trashcan or garbage bag. Swallowing such thingscan cause an intestinalblockage or perforation.
  • Don’t feed people food to your pets.  This includes scraps, bones of any kind and the skin or fat from the turkey.  Any dietary changes in your pet’s food routine can lead to gastric distress or pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas that causes vomiting and dehydration.  Any of this could lead to hospitalization for your pet.
  • Watch for foods such as onions, grapes or raisins, and garlic, that may fall on the floor or be within your pet’s reach on the counter.  These foods can affect your pet’s stomach, but can also lead to other conditions including renal (kidney) issues.   Other foods to be aware of include apple seeds, yeast dough, chocolate, alcoholic beverages, nuts and gum.

“Most of the pet insurance claims we see after the Thanksgiving holiday are the result of pets eating people food, bones, or cooking materials they pulled from an unattended garbage can,” said Traci Endicott, Veterinary Technician and Claims Coordinator with PetFirst.  “Most pets will suffer vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to serious conditions such as pancreatitis or intestinal blockage.  All of these situations could require hospitalization or emergency surgery.”

What to do instead

  • The best way to avoid gastric problems is to continue your pet’s meals around the same schedule they are accustomed to, including treats.  Always keep in mind your pet’s routine.
  • Give dogs or cats a new and safe toy to keep them occupied during the meal.
  • Educate guests not to share food with your pets.  Well-meaning family and friends may slip a scrap or sweet treat from the table to your pet unless you request them not to.
  • Try to keep stress, including the excitement of guests coming and going, to a minimum.  Stress can also create gastric issues for dogs and cats, resulting in unexpected messes.

“Always have your veterinarian’s phone number close by just in case your pet becomes ill,” said Endicott.  “It is also a good idea to have the number to your local 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital for treatment recommendations too.”

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