Thanksgiving Dangers for your Pets by Lisa Michalik

GOBBLE, GOBBLE GOBBLE!  MMMMM turkey dinner and pumpkin pie!
Thanksgiving is a wonderful day of family celebration. It does however, pose many dangers when it comes to our furry friends. This is the time of year that many families come together. Having guests, familiar or unfamiliar, can be highly stressful for your pets. Cats in particular are creatures of habit, therefore any change in routine can cause great upset.

Your friendly feline may display symptoms of unhappiness in the form of gastric upset like vomiting, diarrhea. You may also notice unwilling to eat, hiding, inappropriate urination outside of the litter box, or even refusing to urinate at all. These signs can lead to medical problems such as Urinary Tract Infections, constipation, aggression etc.

Some dogs, even your “happy-go-lucky” pal, can display the same symptoms. New people in the home will be unfamiliar with your daily routine which can cause confusion for your pets. These people may not have pets at home themselves, therefore may not have learned to be subconsciously cautious of dangers. Dangers such as open doors or windows where pets can easily escape, open garbage bins, leaving personal medications within reach, and more. Many pets simply become overwhelmed by the noise and chaos that guests often bring into the home. Consider having a quiet location for your pet to retreat to when s/he feels the need (bedroom, crate, etc.) and never be afraid to ask your guests to respect your pets’ personal space. The last memory you want to make is that of being in the emergency room tending to a bite or laceration!  Remember, even the calmest and most friendly family pet can bite when overwhelmed, scared or confused. Many pets are strongly opposed to forced socialization. Let them come out and socialize when they want to.

Treats and table scraps pose a great danger. Your guests are often compelled to treat Fido or Fluffy. Think about it if all 5 guests in your home are offering treats twice a day; often times unaware that the others are as well, this can cause great stomach upset. Vomiting and/or diarrhea are common. Turkey by itself (plain and in moderation) is pretty safe and appetizing. As long as your pet has never shown adverse reactions to it in the past. When the gravy or other fats are added this can create a pancreatic attack that may leave your pet in extreme pain and in the veterinary hospital for a few days. It’s best to instruct all of your house guests to NOT feed your pet either from the table or treats. For those of you with family/friends that simply will not adhere to your rules you can buy low calorie treats and leave them out to be given as treats. Or you can only feed a portion of your pets’ daily meal while leaving the rest of the kibbles in a treat bowl to be given out throughout the daytime as treat tidbits. What people offer as treats isn’t important. It’s the act of offering the treat that is.

Turkey bones are another danger. Choking hazards and abdominal obstruction are a very real and common concern. Many pet owners are forced to seek veterinary treatment post-thanksgiving festivities.

Happy Thanksgiving from the team at Mountain Road Animal Hospital!