Pet Health Tip - Holiday Food Safety

As we enter the holiday season, now is a good time to give you a few tips about food safety for your pets. During this time of year as we enjoy special treats we often feel compelled to share some with our pets. There are a few reasons to proceed with caution. For instance, many of us will feed the skin from the turkey to our dogs, we often did. However, the skin is extremely fatty and this surprise load of fat can cause an episode of pancreatitis. This occurs because the unusual load of fat requires a discharge of pancreatic enzymes that can inflame the pancreas. This can be quite serious and is a cause for many emergency room visits during this time of year.

However, problems can also be caused by the use of certain seasonings. For instance, was your turkey seasoned using onions or herbs like sage that can make pets sick? The same can be said for the stuffing or green bean casserole that may contain a fried onion topping. Cooked bones are of course a big no as they can splinter and damage the digestive tract. Mash potatoes seem innocent until you think of the sudden load of the milk sugar lactose from the added milk or butter. Pumpkin pie and sweet potato casserole can contain spices like nutmeg and cinnamon that to smaller pets can be in doses high enough to make them sick.

What should I do?

Make sure to keep the turkey and other side dishes safe so they can not be pulled off a counter or table. Pay special attention to more dangerous things such as chocolate cake, onion dishes, cooked bones and of course dark turkey meat and skin. If you are going to feed some turkey focus on leaner white meat. Keep portion size in proportion to your animal’s size/weight. Put aside whole foods like pumpkin, sweet potato or green beans before seasoning. Put aside safe fruits like bananas, apples, cranberries or blueberries before they are mixed in a salad with raisins or grapes that should be avoided. When spoiling our pets during the holidays we may forget that they are much smaller than us so we have to keep track of what, and how much, people food they are getting. Lastly, don’t forget about dangerous plants that are popular this time of year such as poinsettia, holly, mistletoe and amaryllis.

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