Thanksgiving is that time of year for thinking of all we have to be thankful for. No matter what makes that list, it is almost always celebrated with an awesome array of delicious food. This year, as you gather with friends and family to feast for the holiday, make sure your four legged friend gets the chance to join the fun. You can be sure they will appreciate a Thanksgiving treat as much as anyone!
Now, we all know our dogs and cats shouldn’t eat people food on a regular basis, but we’d be lying if we said it never happens. And giving them a few snacks from the table is okay, as long as you follow a few guidelines.
If you choose to let your pets share in the feast, it’s important to be aware of certain foods that could be harmful to their health. Here are seven food items to steer clear of:
1. Caffeine is poisonous to dogs and cats and could potentially be fatal.
2. Grapes and Raisins have been known to cause kidney failure and make smaller animals ill.
3. Raw Undercooked Meats, Eggs, and Bones could contain bacteria causing food poisoning. Additionally, bones can splinter and/or cause pets to choke. Please don’t give a dog a bone!
4. Alcohol can have the same negative effect on animals as it does on humans, only worse. The smaller the pet, the more even a small amount of alcohol will take its toll.
5. Xylitol (sweetener) which is often found in candy, gum, and baked goods isn’t safe for your pet. It will cause your dog or cat’s blood sugar to drop and can cause liver failure.
6. Onions, Garlic, and Chives can destroy an animal’s red blood cells which can ultimately lead to anemia.
7. Chocolate might be a no brainer, but it is worth reinforcing. Theobromine, the toxic agent found in chocolate, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors seizures, and death…need we say more?
On the flip side, there are still ways to let your pet enjoy some special turkey day treats of their own. Given in moderation, your pet can enjoy many of the foods we do. Go ahead and try any of these seven perfectly safe food options:
1. Cooked Boneless Turkey given in small pieces makes a simple and delicious treat.
2. Pumpkin cooked fresh, pumpkin seeds, and unsweetened canned pumpkin have all been shown to help with digestion, urinary health, and even weight loss in both dogs and cats.
3. Cooked Eggs are full of protein, making them a nutritious treat for both cats and dogs.
4. Apples and certain other fruits are packed full of vitamins making them A-Okay!
5. Sweet Potatoes (dehydrated) are an excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and Beta Carotene just to name a few.
6. Green Beans (unsalted) are also safe and provide Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Manganese.
7. Turkey Flavored Bones/Chews aren’t “people” food, but they are designed specifically with pets in mind, and the turkey flavoring really makes them something your pooch will be thankful for!
Not all safe/unsafe human food items are listed, so when in doubt just stick to items you are sure your pet can enjoy safely. It’s also a good idea to keep the number of your pet’s veterinarian handy in case you suspect your pet has consumed something they shouldn’t have.
We hope you find a way to include your pet in your Thanksgiving celebration. As we reflect upon the many things to be thankful for, let us also be thankful for happy and healthy pets! — Erin Kleinhenz