Thanksgiving brings with it moist, steaming-hot turkey smothered in gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole and pumpkin pie, along with an array of other delectable delights. Many people enjoy sharing this amazing holiday feast with their furry family members; however, Dr. Mark Higgins wants to remind pet owners that some of the foods we eat on Thanksgiving should be kept far away from furry friends, as they are toxic to pets.
Foods that are Dangerous for Your Dog and/or Cat
Some of the ingredients found in stuffing are dangerous to animals. Raisins and grapes can cause your dog to have diarrhea and vomit, eventually causing his or her kidneys to shut down. Treatment for a dog that consumes these foods includes making him or her vomit and using activated charcoal to halt the body’s absorption of the toxic food. Typically, if treatment is sought right away, kidney failure can be prevented. Cats may experience gastrointestinal issues.
Onions, garlic, chives and leeks are a great way to spice up Thanksgiving side dishes; however, these ingredients are dangerous to cats and dogs. After eating these foods, the membranes of the red blood cells become damaged, which leads to anemia (a low red blood cell count). This is dangerous because the red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body.
Turkey Skin, Fatty Foods and Gravy
Due to their high fat content, these foods can cause pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), which can become a life-threatening condition.
It is not uncommon for people to give their dogs beef bones; however, poultry bones are very small, which could lead to choking. If swallowed, these bones can cause an obstruction in your pet’s gastrointestinal tract, which may require surgical intervention. In addition, these bones can splinter, causing irritation to the lining of the esophagus and/or the gastric lining. Therefore, any turkey meat that you offer your pet should be bone-free.
When it comes to dogs, chocolate is toxic: The types that cause the most concern include dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate. The ingredient in chocolate that is dangerous to pets is theobromine. Theobromine is similar to caffeine and, when consumed in high doses, can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, high blood pressure and/or an elevated heart rate. On rare occasions, theobromine consumption can cause seizures and a coma. Symptoms to look for include anxiousness and an unusually high amount of energy.
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is used in baking. Xylitol is toxic to pets; therefore, whenever possible, you should avoid using it. This sweetener can cause your pet’s blood sugar to drop. In the worst-case scenario, a dog may suffer liver failure.
While you may consider this a no-brainer, your pet could consume alcohol in more ways than one. Besides alcoholic beverages and rum-soaked desserts, uncooked bread dough can be a source of alcohol: an uncooked yeast dough can continue rising in your pet’s stomach, fermenting and releasing alcohol. If your pet consumes uncooked yeast dough, he or she may experience bloating, and/or a twisted stomach. Additionally, alcohol consumption may lead to loss of coordination, vomiting, a low body temperature, falling blood pressure, alcohol poisoning and/or a coma.
Concerns related to your pet suffering with food poisoning caused by E. coli and salmonella are at the top of the list when it comes to raw egg consumption. However, another issue is a protein found in the raw egg whites. This protein (avidin) has the tendency to interfere with the absorption of biotin, which can cause cats to experience problems with their skin and coat: Salmonella creates similar symptoms in dogs.
If your pet eats something that you are concerned about, contact Care Animal Hospital or call the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 right away.
Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!