food safety for petsFragrant gravy ladled over a steaming mound of mashed potatoes, crisp and golden turkey skins, vibrantly colored cranberry sauce that’s both sweet and tart. If your mouth is watering just thinking about a traditional holiday meal, you can imagine how excited your pet becomes when his or her heightened senses picks up on the aromas of the Thanksgiving and other winter holiday dinners.

It’s tempting to slip a morsel or two to a begging pet, or to nod off after a big meal before putting away the leftovers or taking out the trash, but we can be sure that our pets haven’t overlooked any of these temptations. As delicious as our holiday foods are, some of them pose serious risks to our pets.

Before the holiday season is in full swing is the perfect time to bone up on the principles of food safety for pets.

No Bones About It

The main event at many holiday meals is especially tempting to pets, however the turkey, goose, roast, etc., can cause harm to our furry loved ones:

  • Bones – Bones should never be given to pets as they could cause tooth breakage, injury to the mouth/tongue, or intestinal obstruction
  • BacteriaUndercooked turkey can harbor bacteria such as Salmonella, which can make pets and humans sick.
  • Fats – Skin, gravy, and other fatty morsels can trigger a dangerous inflammatory condition in pets known as pancreatitis.

The Papers And The Trash

Leftovers and trash are as tempting to pets as the meal itself. Take special precaution to put leftovers away as soon as the meal is over, and keep trash bins covered or keep pets out of the room until the trash is out. Pets can and do eat non-edible items such as corncobs and aluminum foil, which could lead to a life-threatening intestinal obstruction.

Food Safety For Pets

By now most of us know that chocolate should not be given to dogs, but there are plenty of other common holiday food items on the no-no list as well, including:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Grapes/raisins
  • Nutmeg
  • Garlic and onions
  • Xylitol (a sugar substitute that is extremely toxic to dogs)

Enjoying The Day

Although your pet shouldn’t be handed a plate like the human family members, there’s no reason he or she can’t enjoy some of the traditional holiday foods. Cubed, white meat turkey and a scoop of plain pumpkin or un-buttered mashed potatoes will make your pet feel like the cherished family member he or she is, without the risk.

Your friends at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital are happy to answer any further questions you may have regarding pet food safety.