Friday, April 19, 2024

Keep Felix and Fido safe during Thanksgiving – giving them treats from the holiday table isn’t the healthiest option

An important thing to remember is that it’s quality, not quantity, of treats that pets remember. (WYDaily file/Courtesy of Unsplash)
An important thing to remember is that it’s quality, not quantity, of treats that pets remember. (WYDaily file/Courtesy of Unsplash)

Did you know that Thanksgiving is often one of the busiest evenings for emergency vet clinics?

More so this year when many animal hospitals are operating under COVID restrictions.

That’s according to Best Friends Animal Society.

Thanksgiving is one of the great food holidays in the American tradition, but it’s not just humans who get excited. Dogs – and cats – are more than likely to have their interest piqued by the culinary activity that day.

But like everything else this year, for most people this Thanksgiving will look quite different.

Although there might be fewer human visitors, one thing that’s certain is that many have newly adopted dogs and cats to be thankful for, and pets are grateful to be spending the holiday in foster homes.

Here’s one thing to remember: feeding pets treats from the holiday table isn’t the healthiest option.

Too much rich, fatty food, or simply new, unfamiliar foods can upset a pet’s stomach–and even cause pancreatitis, which can be life-threatening—so owners should go easy on the tidbits.

Poultry or ham bones can break up or splinter in a pet’s stomach and be deadly, so dogs and cats should never be allowed to gnaw on them, and bones should go outside to the trash immediately.

Other food-flavored items like plastic wrap, string, mesh or the pop-up timer can smell tempting to curious pets, but can injure their stomachs if stolen and ingested, according to Best Friends.

Chocolate, especially that used for baking, is toxic for dogs, so it should be kept out of reach.

Other common food items that can be poisonous to dogs include onions, raisins and grapes, so avoid sharing these.

It’s a good idea to review these rules with any guests as well, since well-meaning holiday visitors might not know the potential harm caused by slipping treats to the pets under the table.

If pet owners want to make the holiday special for their four-footed family members, they should plan ahead and have safe, delicious dog and cat treats on hand, like canned pet food or a tasty pet treats or fun toy.

An important thing to remember is that it’s quality, not quantity, of treats that pets remember.

Pacing smaller snacks out throughout the day is a way to avoid gastrointestinal distress after a single large meal — advice humans can benefit from as well.

Definitely wait until the turkey is cooked.

Veterinarians do not recommend raw meat, especially poultry.

Other Thanksgiving treats should be avoided completely, especially the calorie-free sweetener Xylitol.

The product is often sold in food marketed for diabetic customers, but also occurs in a range of reduced-calorie or low-calorie products, including some peanut butter brands.

Even small amounts of food made with Xylitol can be fatal to small and medium-sized dogs.

And one more thing: many common decorative plants and flowers can be toxic for curious cats and dogs, so before buying plants or creating the centerpiece, it’s wise to check to ensure that you’re not using anything that could poison your pets. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, some plant hazards include amaryllis, baby’s breath, sweet William, some ferns, hydrangeas and others.


John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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