food bad for petsImagine the scene of the crime: trash can toppled over, bits of foil and plastic wrap spread about the floor, and – you guessed it – a turkey carcass stuffed behind the couch. This is no CSI episode or great mystery; it’s just another case of The Pet Who Stole Thanksgiving Scraps.

As you clean up the mess, you may wonder what and how much your pet ate and whether or not any of it can make them sick. You then rush to Dr. Google to look up all the potential toxins, wondering if you should call your veterinarian (hint: when in doubt, please call us for your pet’s safety).

While this scene is something that can happen any time, holidays like Thanksgiving see a definite rise in pet poisoning cases. Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude and expressing that gratitude over a whole lot of food, which your pet is more than willing to sample. To help you avert any disasters, we want to alert you to foods that are bad for pets and to offer some safe, pet-friendly alternatives.

Thanksgiving Foods That are Bad for Pets

Realistically speaking, any foods given to your pet in large quantities can set them up for obesity and other health concerns. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving foods are rife with calories like buttery side dishes, succulent turkey and stuffing, and fluffy mashed potatoes drenched in gravy. If that’s enough to make you salivate, imagine how keen your pet will be to get to the goods.

Rich, fatty, sugary foods are off the table when it comes to your pet’s health. These foods can cause gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, and diarrhea (something you won’t be thankful for), as well as increase the risk of pancreatitis, which is a potentially life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas.

Harmful Holiday Foods

The following food items can cause toxicity if ingested by your pet:

  • Xylitol, a sugar substitute found in baked goods and candies
  • Chocolate (including baker’s chocolate)
  • Alcohol
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Onions and garlic
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Fruit pits (cherries, apricots, etc.)
  • Yeast (for bread or homebrewing)

Trash cans and compost pails should be covered and bags of trash should be taken to outdoor garbage bins after clean-up. Other holiday favorites, like lit candles, potpourri, and plants that are toxic, should be kept out of your pet’s reach or avoided altogether.

Hanging With Your Pet for the Holidays

Now to the good part! You can make this Thanksgiving a special one for your pet by adding a few pet-friendly activities and treats for which they’ll surely be grateful. A few snacks for the fur kids include skinless, deboned turkey, a dollop of unseasoned mashed yams or potatoes, and steamed carrots or green beans.

On the morning of the holiday, go for a pre-Thanksgiving hike or toss the ball at a beautiful park you and your pet both enjoy. The best part of Thanksgiving is spending quality time with those you love, and who can be more deserving than your pet?

While we’re busy feeling thankful for our pets, don’t forget to help them stay healthy by following our turkey day tips. Please call us with any questions.

We’re so grateful for our pet patients and their families, and we look forward to continuing to provide exceptional care for your furry friend. From all of us at Animal Kind Veterinary Hospital, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!