Keeping Your Dog Safe on Thanksgiving

Old Pug with a Fresh Fall HarvestThanksgiving is only a few short weeks away. It’s a great time to reconnect with family and friends and celebrate the good fortunes the year has brought us. Our dogs may not understand the bigger meaning of Thanksgiving, but they do get that the kitchen is now full of yummy smells. These tempting scents and the constant ruckus of ovens opening, mixers mixing, and sweet delights being placed on every open space can make anyone’s will power tremble. For our dogs though, this festive holiday can quickly become a medical emergency. Before things get too hectic around your house, it’s a good time to review some of the foods that can be dangerous to your dog around Thanksgiving. We’ve created a list of some of the common doggie no-no’s as well as some helpful tips that can keep your holiday running smoothly.

Thanksgiving Foods Your Dog Should Avoid

  • Fatty foods- turkey skin, fatty grizzle, and butter can all lead to an upset tummy for your dog. In some cases these fat laden foods can cause pancreatitis which requires veterinary attention. It’s best to keep gravy bowls and crispy skin far from your dog’s reach.
  • Bones- whether you are planning on serving a traditional turkey, prime rib, or ham be sure to take the bones out to the trash as soon as possible. Bones can cause a number of problems for your dog including obstruction and perforation. In some cases, surgery may be required to remove them.
  • Alliums (AKA onions, leeks, chives, shallots) – these fragrant ingredients may spice up our stuffing and mash potatoes, but they can also lead to acute anemia in your dog which will require immediate veterinary attention. Be careful when chopping these vegetables as your dog may jump at the chance to snag anything that has hit the floor.
  • Nuts- walnuts and macadamia nuts may add great texture to bread and cookies, but they can also cause “macadamia nut toxicosis”. Some dogs showed symptoms of weakness, depression, vomiting and hyperthermia within 12 hours of exposure.
  • Grapes and raisins- often used in salads and sides, grapes and raisins can cause serious health issues for your dog. Some dogs have developed acute kidney failure from eating this small innocuous fruit.
  • Raw bread dough- when dogs ingest raw yeast dough their stomachs act as an instant oven creating carbon dioxide that will expand their tummy. The pressure that is built can result in gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV) which will require immediate veterinary care.
  • Xylitol- this artificial sweetener is found in just about everything these days from sugar –free gum to mouthwash and baked goods. This chemical can result in hypoglycemia.
  • Chocolate- most dog owners are aware that chocolate is not safe for their loved pets. Remember that bakers chocolate and dark chocolates have higher levels of theobromine, the chemical that causes toxicity, so a little exposure can go a long way.
  • Alcohol- while wine and beer may be enjoyed as part of your Thanksgiving, avoid sharing any with your dog. Alcohol can result in a number of symptoms that could put your festivities on hold while you visit your local veterinary emergency room.

If your dog does manage to get into the above items be sure to call your veterinarian right away, some of these problems can be stopped with proper medical attention.

Now, we don’t want to ruin the fun of the holidays for your dog. We know that our four-legged pals deserve a little extra on this festive day. We’ve developed a few tips that will allow you to spoil your dog while keeping them safe.

Thanksgiving Treats for Your Dog

  • Diversion Bowl- if you have a lot guest coming and going during your holiday, fill a bowl with acceptable dog treats. Let them know that they are welcomed to offer your dog anything in their special bowl, reminding t\your guest to not share people food with your dog.
  • Canned food- your dog doesn’t have to miss out on all of the yummy foods that are being served. Treat your dog to a couple tablespoons of canned food with their normal kibble. Look for canned food that has pumpkin as an ingredient that can help with digestion. Your dog will undoubtedly snag food that has been dropped on the floor and the pumpkin can help their tummies.
  • Boarding- holidays are a hectic time for everyone. With people coming and going, it can be hard to keep track of your dog. Treat them to a night (or even the whole weekend) at Pooch Hotel. They will feel like they are having the best slumber party ever, and you can focus on making sure the pumpkin pie comes out of the oven at just the right time.

We hope your Thanksgiving holiday is filled with great memories and special times with your family, friends, and pets.