Thanksgiving Pet Safety


Thanksgiving is a great time to spend with your family, friends, and pets. It is also a great time for sharing some delicious meals! However, there are some hazards to think about at this time of year. How can you keep your pets safe and have a great holiday?

To start, a safe place for pets to go, prevents potential exposure to hazards in the kitchen. People can easily trip over pets that are waiting under foot for some yummy treats to drop. If you are handling hot food, pans or boiling water, your pet should not be in the kitchen.

Although very tempting to feed your pets leftovers from dinner, remember that the foods we most often eat at Thanksgiving are very high in calories and fat. Ask your guests and teach your children not to feed your pets table scraps. Foods to avoid include turkey skin, gravy, fat trimmings, onions, chocolate and alcohol. Eating fatty human food puts pets at risk of pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). This can be a life threatening disease and signs include vomiting, diarrhea, painful abdomen, lethargy, inappetence and dehydration. Most pets require hospitalization on IV fluids, IV painkillers, antibiotics and other supportive treatments.

Fatty food also puts pets at risk of being overweight which increases their risk for diabetes, joint issues, heart disease, high blood pressure, and heat intolerance among other concerns. Overfeeding can also increase the chance of bloat, where the stomach twists on itself. This is often a fatal condition which requires emergency surgery. Remember that any change in diet can also cause stomach upset.

Instead of feeding human foods, give your pet a favourite toy or put some of their regular kibble in a puzzle treat ball for them to play with. Once dinner is over make sure leftovers are stored safely away. Never feed turkey bones to your pets. All poultry bones splinter very easily and can cause intestinal perforation or blockage. Skewers, string, roasting bags, cellophane wrap, tin foil and plastic bags can also act as foreign bodies and cause intestinal blockage. Put these items into a pet proof garbage.

Please note that Chestermere Veterinary Clinic will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, so if your pets get into trouble take them to an emergency veterinary clinic. You should always have your local veterinarian and emergency clinic phone numbers by the phone, and a good pet first-aid book that lists common poisons and what to do if your pet ingests them. If you can bring a sample of what your pet ingested, it can help your veterinarian treat your pet faster.

Emergency Numbers:
Western Veterinary Specialist & Emergency Centre 403-770-1340
CARE Centre 403-520-8387 

If you have any questions or concerns, call Chestermere Veterinary Clinic at 403-272-3573.

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