Culver City Observer -

Sharing Love, Not Food: Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Pets


November 27, 2014

Tis’ the season for family, friends and food! There’s just something about family and friends gathering that gets everyone in the holiday spirit, including the furry members of the family. For many of us Thanksgiving is as all about the food – and who can blame our pets for wanting to share in the feast?

The aroma of the turkey roasting in the oven will get any dog or cat begging to partake in the big dinner. However, sharing “people food” is not always healthy for our animal companions. Pet parents should take into consideration the following common holiday foods that can be harmful to dogs and cats:

Turkey - As Uncle Bob and the rest of the family are gobbling up the turkey, it’s only natural to think to about sharing with your four legged friends. However, passing turkey bones to pets is a big mistake. Bones dry out during cooking and can splinter or crack when chewed by a cat or a dog. Turkey skin is also a no-no, as it is usually too fatty for your pet to digest, and may pose an additional hazard if seasoned with garlic, onions, chives, leeks, or other similar seasonings; these plants, known as alliums, are extremely toxic to pets (especially cats). However, if you’re sure no alliums are present in your bird, feeding a small amount of boneless, skinless, cooked turkey meat is usually fine.

Cranberry sauce and stuffing - While it’s unclear exactly how cranberries affect cats and dogs, one ingredient often present in cranberry sauces and dressings – raisins – can look very similar, and be very harmful to your pet. Raisins and Grapes can cause acute renal failure in dogs and cats and should be avoided at all costs. Some berries and fruits are harmless (or even potentially beneficial), but unless instructed by your veterinarian, you should avoid feeding them to your pet. Nuts are another potentially harmful ingredient in many stuffing recipes. Some varieties, such as walnuts and macadamias, cause upset stomachs and may contain toxins. Since these ingredients can hide in otherwise innocuous sides, it is wise to hold off feeding these dishes to your pet.

Alcohol - Dogs do not process alcohol in the same way as humans do, so ingesting it may result in harmful drops in blood sugar, leading to seizures and respiratory distress. Cats will be affected by alcohol in much the same way that humans are, but their brain and liver will suffer damage a lot faster. Just two teaspoons of whiskey can put a 5-lb cat into a coma, and three could prove fatal. Pay due diligence when hosting parties and instruct your guests not to give your pets any alcohol, and quickly clean up any spills or drinks that have been left out.

Chocolate and sweets - Any kind chocolate is toxic to dogs; even white chocolate. The most dangerous types of chocolate are unsweetened baking chocolate and dark chocolate. Another chemical to avoid that is found in many sweet treats is Xylitol. This substance can be found in holiday candy, baked goods, diet foods and gum, and ingesting it can send your pet into liver failure within a few days, so keep it far out of your pet’s reach.

Although we all love to spoil our pets, please think twice before sneaking a treat under the table. Adopt & Shop carries a variety of holiday treat options designed just for pets so that you can indulge your furry friends without risking an unexpected visit to the veterinarian.


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