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  • Jeff Shell, DVM

Thanksgiving Trouble


Ah, Thanksgiving, that time of year when we celebrate family, togetherness, and commemorate our Colonial ancestors. For some of us, it also means chasing the dog around the house to get the turkey leg out of his mouth, or shooing the cat off of the perfectly set table.

We all know, myself included, that our pets will end up getting some of the edible, delicious, holiday goodness by begging, stealing, or just plain looking pitiful.

A lot of noise is made about the risks of giving people food to pets, especially at holiday time. So I want to help provide some guidance during this time of year when you have a million other things occupying your mind.

For most dogs and cats, getting a couple bites of turkey, or a few green beans is perfectly fine. In fact, why not allow your furry family to partake in the Thanksgiving festivities, i.e. eating a bunch and then taking a long nap while the tv blares in the background.

There are three key concerns when it comes to sharing with your pet:

-The first is quantity. Think small amounts not a plate full of food. Most pets are accustomed to eating large amounts of people. The result of over indulging could be upset stomach or bowel issues, neither of which you want to see with mother in law visiting. A couple small bites should be plenty.

-Second, think about grease, fat, and bones. These are the big trouble makers. Pet food is low in fat, and holiday food that is buttery and fried puts your pet at risk for major upset stomach issues and a potentially serious condition known as pancreatitis. Perhaps offer your pet some healthy veggies or a small amount of lean meat. Letting Fido dig into some casserole, pie, or a hambone could have dire consequences for your carpet and could make your pet quite ill.

-Thirdly, think about your pet's current health. Does your cat have a sensitive stomach or require a special food? Does your dog have intermittent tummy trouble? If so, maybe they should forego partaking in the table food tradition.

Enjoy your holiday, celebrate with family and friends, there is plenty to be thankful for, and keep this information in mind during the holidays. Also, if your pet isn't acting right, not eating well, or having upset stomach issues, call your veterinarian. Happy Holidays folks.


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