Thanksgiving is all about appreciating the ones you love – and that includes your pets! It’s important to include pets in celebrations and prevent them from feeling neglected, but some things are better left to the humans. Here are the dos and don’ts for celebrating Turkey Day with your cat or dog.
The Rules of Leftovers
While a turkey looks tempting to a cat or dog, it can also be dangerous. Raw and undercooked turkey, as well as leftovers that have been sitting out for too long, can harbor salmonella bacteria. Symptoms in animals (and humans) include lethargy, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite leading to weight loss. Giving your pet a few tidbits of turkey won’t hurt – just make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked.
Avoid feeding animals morsels of anything containing herbs, which can cause digestive problems. Raw dough is also a no-no, as it can rise in the heat of the stomach, a deadly situation that may require surgery to resolve. Any foods containing raw eggs or meat should also be avoided to prevent salmonella infection.
Too much of a good thing is never a smart idea, and this idea holds true with your pets and Thanksgiving leftovers. The high fat content of human foods like turkey and gravy can cause intestinal issues, including diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach upset. Pancreatitis is another condition that can arise from feeding your pet too much human food; it’s caused by high levels of fat and calcium in the animal’s bloodstream that inflame the pancreas.
A Feast Fit For a Dog
Pet parents can avoid the health risks that accompany feeding your pet human leftovers by creating a mini Thanksgiving dinner, just for your dog! There are many canned and fresh dog foods available at pet supply stores that contain all the ingredients of a traditional human Thanksgiving dinner; try distracting your dog from the scrumptious smells of your own feast with one of these.
Another option is creating a pet-safe dish with small amounts of leftovers. There are many recipes available online, ranging from pumpkin pie and stuffing to mashed potatoes – all dog-friendly! Many of these recipes are also tasty for humans, too.
During the holiday season, you should make an effort to involve your pets in the festivities. However, do so responsibly, and keep yourself informed of the health risks that come along with Thanksgiving.