At Thanksgiving, it's natural to want to sneak titbits to your pet. But first, read our list of 10 Thanksgiving foods that are bad for your dog.
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Overflowing your Thanksgiving table with delectable favorites is rewarding. After planning, shopping, and labor-intensive hours in the kitchen, it's time to kick back, relax, and dig in.
As you enter the feeding frenzy, it's natural to want to sneak a titbit to your four-legged friend who gives you those puppy dog eyes. They're perfecting the look before Christmas.
While your dog will indulge everyone's sneaky under-the-table offering, it's essential to be aware of the foods that can be harmful or toxic to your furbaby.
Thanksgiving Foods That Are Bad For Your Dog
Let's deconstruct ten Thanksgiving favorites to see what's a big no-no.
1. Turkey Skin & Turkey Bones
The Thanksgiving turkey is the center of attention, the ultimate labor of love, and the item that gets everyone drooling. Turkey is an excellent source of protein for dogs, but the danger with Thanksgiving recipes is the addition of aromatics and fats. The skin is the surface for most of those delicious flavors, so feeding it to your dog can lead to toxicity exposure. Bones can also be very perilous for your pooch, and many times, bones can become lodged in the intestines, necessitating surgical removal. Bones from poultry are also infamous for splintering, causing irritation or damage to the esophagus or gastric lining. Abdominal infections could be fatal if the bone were to puncture the stomach.
Ham is a protein source, so it's forgivable to assume that your joyous furbaby can have some. Pork products can cause pancreatitis, vomiting, diarrhea, and upset stomach, however. It's also high in fat and can contribute to obesity in pets. Even a small slither can add quite a few calories to their daily intake.
Where there is turkey, there is stuffing and gravy; they're a trio made in heaven. But the ingredients that make up these Thanksgiving components are harmful to your pet. Garlic, onions, and raisins are among those harmful additives. Some pets are also susceptible to fatty or spicy foods, and what is gravy, if not greasy? For Fido, it's a big no!
The Allium plant species contains aromatic foods that create a foundation for a lot of our cooking. Onions, garlic, chives, shallots, and leeks are all part of this group, in whatever form - powdered, dehydrated, or fresh. Signs of allium poisoning may only present days after consumption. Symptoms to look out for include diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, depression, developing anemia, dark urine, weakness, and more. Oxidative damage to red blood cells causes an onset of anemia.
5. Cranberry Sauce
Fresh cranberries or pure cranberry juice are great for dogs and lower the Ph levels in bladder infections, just as they do in humans. When made into a sauce for Thanksgiving, however, sugar and raisins are popular ingredients that pose a risk to your dog's health. Sugar-free sauces aren't any better, as artificial sweeteners like xylitol are extremely toxic to animals.
6. Mashed Potatoes
Creamy, buttery, garlicky, and delicious, this carb is a great side for any occasion, but they will make your dog ill. Unadulterated cooked potatoes can make a great addition to your pet's diet. They're rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, iron, and magnesium. If you don't want your companion animal to miss out, make them a doggy potato side. However, if your dog has diabetes, this carb can cause a spike in blood sugar and should be avoided no matter the occasion.
If a spicy sweet potato dish is on your menu, or the famous pumpkin pie, don't let your furball have a bite. Nutmeg and cinnamon are popular Thanksgiving spices but are also unsafe for pets. Nutmeg contains myristicin, which, in dogs, can cause hallucinations, disorientation, dry mouth, abdominal pain, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and possibly seizures.
7. Corn on the Cob
'Tis the seasons for butter, gravy, and plenty of spices. Feeding your dog sheared corn kernels before adding unhealthy butter, sodium, oil, and other seasonings is perfectly fine. But veterinarians warn against handing your dog the entire cob as it can be a choking hazard and cause a blockage and possible perforation in the intestines.
The Thanksgiving meal is not complete without grapes, a traditional harvest fruit. From prosciutto-wrapped grilled grapes, butternut squash and grape casseroles, and a plethora of desserts with grapes as their hero, these mini fruits are bound to make an appearance. If not fresh, expect to see dried grape products such as raisins, sultanas, or currants.
Unfortunately for Fido, grape products have been reported to cause renal failure, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
Sorry pups, but chocolate is toxic for dogs. Even small amounts can cause side effects, such as vomiting, diarrhea, agitated large intestines, tachycardia (high heart rate), seizures, abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, pancreatitis, collapse, and even death. If your furbaby has eaten chocolate, immediately call the Pet Poison Helpline.
Chocolate is toxic to pets because of the methylxanthine alkaloids: theobromine and caffeine. Humans can easily digest and extreme these alkaloids, but dogs cannot. Instead, it affects their central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and respiratory system. Another point to remember is that the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it can be to your pet. This is due to the higher levels of theobromine. So while white or milk chocolate won't be as poisonous, make sure chocolate is always out of your puppy's reach.
Not all nuts are harmful to dogs. As a dog owner, you'll know that xylitol-free peanut butter is a firm favorite of your pet's snacks. Nuts provide protein and healthy fat to a dog's food intake. So on Thanksgiving day, feel free to treat your pet to their own nut butter, but steer them away from candied, caramelized nuts or any puddings that contain nuts.
The nuts to avoid include pistachios and pecan nuts due to a mold that can cause aflatoxin and damage your pet's liver. Almonds, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, and cashews can be choking hazards to your pet. Macadamia nut poisoning is infrequent, but the ingestion of as little as 0.7 g/kg of nuts can produce clinical signs in dogs, including adverse effects on nerve and muscle function.
What To Do If Your Dog Has Eaten Toxic Foods
If you've caught your sneaky pet gobbling some human delicacies, call your closest animal emergency center, or phone the Pet Poison Helpline to see if there is anything you can do for them at home.
Sometimes, supportive management of the poisoning can include induction of vomiting (within two hours). First, speak to a toxicology specialist to see if induced vomiting is the best approach. Administering activated charcoal has also been shown to help, as it adsorbs toxicants and facilitates its excretion via the feces. Again, always speak with an expert first.
If your dog is showing severe symptoms, take them to an animal hospital immediately.
Instill Good Behaviour in Your Dog Around Mealtime
Training your pet to behave around dinnertime is a good idea and can limit their access to harmful foods. Even if your furball usually behaves, the amount of guests at Thanksgiving increases their chance of a sneaky spoil. Drooling, begging eyes, and whining pleas will tempt guests to hand over a piece of turkey skin, or worse, some pecan nut pie.
If it helps, keep your dog away from the table and train them to lie down while the human's feast. And don't forget to reward them for their stellar behavior.
Keep Your Pooch Safe This Thanksgiving
Heading into the festive season can have your head in a spin. Don't let your dog's health fall to the bottom of the priority list. The average cost of pet emergency treatment is between $800 and $1,500, but can easy climb into the multiple thousands based on your location. Prevention is cheaper than a cure. That's something to be thankful for.
Keep your dog out of harm's way this Thanksgiving by asking your guests not to feed the fluffball and providing dog-friendly snacks (in moderation). With everyone safe and happy, you'll appreciate those puppy cuddles when you're recovering from your food coma on the couch.
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