Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday of many because it’s a time when we get together with loved ones, give thanks, watch football, and, of course, FEAST! We want your four-legged friends to enjoy this time of year, too, but we also want them to be safe from the food and weather-related dangers. Consider the following Thanksgiving pet safety tips by Kootenai Animal Hospital in Post Falls, ID to make your turkey day with your dog or cat a happy one.
Good Table Food vs. Bad Table Food
With those big eyes staring up at you and that soft chin resting on your knee, it can be hard to resist giving your pet some scraps from your Thanksgiving dinner. Although there are some table foods like green beans and other green veggies that are harmless to pets there are others that aren’t, so it’s important to know the difference. Remember to check your trash can to make sure it’s securely closed and inaccessible by your pet, so they don’t go digging for scraps.
Turkey: Turkey is a lean protein that provides many health benefits to both pets and people, so feel free to share a few scraps with your fur baby. Just be sure to give them only the white meat and to remove any excess skin or fat. Too much fatty food can cause pancreatitis, which can leave your pet in pain. It’s also important not to feed your pet any turkey with bones in it, since bones can lead to digestive and obstruction issues.
Mashed Potatoes: If not prepared with a great deal of dairy products like cheese, butter, or sour cream, potatoes are typically safe to feed to your pet. The gravy, however, is not, due to its high fat content.
Onions: Onions and other alliums (garlic, scallions, etc.) are also a no-no for pets. In large amounts, these foods can be toxic to your pet and can affect the red blood cells, leading to anemia, so if you’re feeding your pet scraps, make sure they’re free of these ingredients.
Sweet Foods: On the list of sweet foods that should never be fed to dog or cats are grapes, raisins, chocolate, and food with xylitol (sugar substitute). These foods contain toxic ingredients that can cause a number of health problems for your pet, including vomiting, diarrhea, hypoglycemia, and even kidney failure.
Cold Weather Safety
Here in Idaho, late fall temps can get pretty chilly, so we at Kootenai Animal Hospital want to remind you to keep your pet warm and healthy during the cooler months of the year. Of course, the one obvious way to keep your pet warm is to keep them indoors and limiting their playtime and walk time outdoors when temps are frigid. You may even want to consider purchasing a dog or cat sweater to provide your pet with an extra layer of warmth and protection, especially if you have a hairless or short-haired pet.
Another potential cold weather danger is antifreeze. Many antifreeze products are made with ethylene glycol, which creates a sweet smell and taste. This is what attracts so many animals to it and causes them to drink it, but ingesting even a couple table spoons can be deadly. To protect your pet, switch to an antifreeze brand that’s made with propylene glycol, which, although still dangerous if ingested, is much less toxic. You can also simply be mindful of any antifreeze spills in your garage or driveway, and make sure the containers are properly sealed and stowed away, out of your pet’s reach.
If you ever suspect that your pet has ingested antifreeze or a toxic food, or if you have any questions about these Thanksgiving pet safety tips, contact Kootenai Animal Hospital in Post Falls at (208) 773-6000.