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5 Pet Dangers to Watch Out for this Thanksgiving

Posted by Jessica Gramlich on November 18, 2015 at 9:00 AM
Jessica Gramlich
Dr. Gramlich is a 2008 graduate of North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. After completing a one-year emergency internship in Rhode Island, she spent five years working as a small animal general practitioner in New Hampshire.

Holiday Dangers for Pets!Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday. Run a quick 5k race in the morning and then spend the rest of day eating delicious food, hanging out with friends and family, watching football and taking a nap. Best day ever.

Unfortunately for many of our companion animals, Thanksgiving starts out as a joyous occasion and then turns ugly. Here are some holiday dangers to avoid.

Turkey bones 

Poultry bones can be an extremely dangerous foreign body. There is this idea that bones are natural and therefore safe, wolves eat them so why can’t your dog? I’m just going to ask you to look at your pugs face and think about the efficiency of those jaws.

Then I’m going to ask you to thinking about the last time your lab chewed something completely or if he just swallowed it whole? Poultry bones have a habit of splintering and those sharp parts get caught as they travel through the GI tract. The lucky pets only have to deal with painful mucosal scratches, but the unlucky ones develop life threatening GI perforations.

Fatty foods 

If your pet is not used to eating a bunch of table scraps and fatty foods then a Thanksgiving meal can be a dangerous time for him. If you are having people over for Thanksgiving, do not let them feed your pet, first Uncle Bob gives Fluffy a little turkey, then Aunt Petunia gives a little more, cousin Billy feeds Fluffy an entire piece of pie and before you know it Fluffy has ingested an incredible amount of fat and calories.

At best these patients come in with gastroenteritis, but pancreatitis is commonly the outcome. Inflammation can be mild, moderate or severe and unfortunately those severe cases can be deadly. Be smart about indulging your furry friend. More isn’t always better. 

Allium species

Thanksgiving meals aren’t traditionally what we would call spicy food because the flavorings we add are not on the hot scale, but unfortunately the spices we use to flavor many Thanksgiving dishes such as onions, shallots, garlic and leeks can be toxic to our companion animals and result in dangerous anemia.  Do not give table scraps containing these allium species.

Yeast breads

YeastUncooked yeast bread dough should not be ingested. Once in the stomach the bread dough will rise and expand within the gastrointestinal tract.

Not only can the expanded stomach be distended and uncomfortable but it can also cause gastric dilatation volvulus. Also as the sugars in the bread are processed patients can become sick with alcohol poisoning. 

Alcohol

WineIt's never appropriate to feed your pet alcohol.  There are sadly youtube videos of people intentionally getting their pets drunk and some people may find that to be entertaining but please don't let your clients think this is a harmless prank.  

Other times this toxicity is accidental when a pet is poisoned by leaving out fruitcake, spilled drinks, and uncooked bread dough.  Alcohol poisoning can result in ataxia, hypothermia, bradycardia, metabolic acidosis and if left untreated, death.  

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Topics: Toxicity

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