The holidays are just around the corner, and along with them many food hazards for our best friends. I put together several tips to avoid Gastroenteritis & Pancreatitis, and came up with safe alternatives to greasy people food for your pup on Thanksgiving:
Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the canine digestive tract caused by eating something inappropriate, such as greasy, spicy table scraps or discarded food from the garbage (food poisoning). Symptoms are severe vomiting and (bloody) diarrhea.
Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas caused by eating too much fat. Symptoms are also vomiting and diarrhea, as well as abdominal pain, increased heart rate, loss of appetite and lethargy.
1) No Seasoned Turkey, Gravy, & Other Spicy Table Scraps
Seasoned table scraps are always a bad idea as they aren’t healthy for our pups and encourage begging if fed from the dining table.
Table scraps on Thanksgiving however are particularly hazardous for Fido due to their increased fat & salt content. Additionally, the essential oils & seasonings used to cook Thanksgiving dinner (such as from sage) are poisonous to dogs.
Instead: If you’d like to add a little oomph to your dog’s food on Thanksgiving, consider some healthy toppers for his regular food. Green beans, broccoli, carrots, and bell peppers are tasty, nutritious options – they are best digested if pureed as dogs lack the necessary enzyme to break down plant cell walls.
2) No Chocolate, Pie, or Bread Dough
The theobromine & caffeine contained in chocolate (<– read my article about the dangers of chocolate here!) is what makes this human treat toxic for dogs. Pies contain way too much sugar to be shareable with Fido.
Pumpkin Pie contains the spice nutmeg, which affects a dog’s nervous system and can cause seizures.
Bread dough will extend in her stomach once swallowed, causing major pain & even bloat (<– read may article about bloat here!).
Check out the Chocolate Toxicity Meter here to find out how a certain amount of chocolate affects your dog!
Instead: Make some homemade dehydrated sweet potato treats for your K9 loves – find out how in my blog post Spoiling Your Dogs With 100% Dehydrated, Organic, Homemade Sweet Potato Treats!
3) No Cooked Bones
Cooked bones can splinter, puncture the stomach walls, and wreak major havoc in our dogs’ throats and digestive systems. That’s why we should never let our pups have any!
Instead: It’s a better idea to give our pups a safe chew, such as a bully stick or a raw, meaty bone. My pups get duck & turkey necks, chicken leg quarters, chicken feet and many more- they are soft enough not to damage those K9 pearlies, yet have the right amount of crunch to help with your pup’s dental care…besides being a scrumptious treat, they are also an integral part of the raw meaty diet I feed.
4) No Stuffing
Stuffing is made using a lot of spices, herbs, and seasonings, such as onions and essential oils from sage, all of which are toxic to dogs. Mushrooms can also be added to stuffing, and are equally toxic for dogs.
Instead: Create your own dog friendly version of stuffing by mixing some pumpkin puree and peanut butter in with your dog’s regular food. You could even add a few small treats. Fill a Kong toy with the mixture. Your pup will love the tasty treat and busy herself for a while!
A note on garlic: Crushed or minced garlic in small quantities is a secret anti-cancer & anti-flea weapon! Read more on my blog post Myth Buster: Garlic IS good for dogs, after all!
5) No Alcohol
This should be a no-brainer. Alcohol is a lot more toxic to dogs (and cats!) than it is to humans. It causes a depression of the central nervous system and will make your four-legged friend stagger around, slow down her reflexes, and possibly even cause cardiac arrest.
Instead: Well, there really aren’t any alternatives as far as canine drinks go…always make sure your pup has clean, fresh water available, and wash out her water dish on a daily basis using hot water & soap to avoid bacteria buildup.
6) No Counter Surfing & Garbage Raiding: Leave Tempting Food Out Of Fido’s Reach
As with so many other things in life, prevention is key. Don’t allow Fido access to the kitchen while you’re busy cooking all those Thanksgiving delicacies, and don’t leave any tempting foods within reach anywhere. You could put up a baby gate in order to block his access to the kitchen.
Place the bread dough on top of your fridge or inside a different room behind closed doors. Put cookies, candy, or chocolate in plastic containers with lids if you’re planning on leaving them out on the kitchen counter.
Immediately dispose of tempting food packaging. Should your kitchen trash can be easily reachable for those curious paws, take any tempting trash to the garbage can outside right away.
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center
In case of an emergency call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: (888) 426-4435. Their toxicology hotline offers advice & treatment options 24/7, 365 days.
There is a charge of $65 per case which is charged to your credit card (you MUST have a credit card in order to be “seen”).
Familiarize yourself with the Veterinary Emergency Hospitals in your area, and have a canine First Aid book readily available. I can highly recommend the First-Aid Companion for Dogs & Cats, by Amy D. Shojai.
Happy Thanksgiving! How do you include your pup on Thanksgiving while keeping him safe? As always, we’d love to hear from you in our comment section!