As the holidays approach, we must plan for our pets so everyone will be able to celebrate without any disasters. Where will the animals be when you take the turkey, ham or roast beef out of the oven? A large dog can be tempted to appropriate the meat for itself when your back is turned, now that’s a disaster!
Just in case you are thinking, “Well, I don’t have to worry because I have cats, not dogs,” think again. My worst experience with dinner guests was the time the cat jumped up on the counter and flipped the roast chicken to the floor where the dogs could join in. My guests and I ended up at a restaurant after I took the animals to the veterinarian as a precaution.
Not only is it dangerous for the animals to help themselves because of the bones which can perforate the esophagus, stomach and intestine, other parts of the meal can cause a reaction, too.
Too much gravy or turkey skin can trigger digestive upsets and can cause pancreatitis. Highly spiced foods can cause vomiting in some dogs. Onions are a “no-no” in any form, even if they are cut up in a dish for flavoring. Chocolate is also not tolerated by dogs.
It is much better if you give your dog or cat its regular meal even on a special holiday; then you will be spared a cleanup job and possibly an emergency visit to the veterinarian. Besides, the animal doesn’t have a calendar, so it doesn’t know it is a day for feasting .
If you absolutely have to indulge your pet, I read in a recent magazine that you can mix a small amount of plain boiled potatoes (before they are mashed) with some chopped turkey meat (no skin) and a little fat-free turkey broth to moisten. Mash the potatoes with a fork, warm the mixture, add your dog’s regular kibble and your pet will consider it a feast for the gods.
Now suppose your pet has “counter-surfed” and found some good smelling dish that has toxic properties for dogs included in the recipe — like the onions I mentioned earlier. When do you drop everything and head for the animal clinic? First, if he has brought up what he ate and seems sort of lethargic, you might be able to watch and see if there are any additional symptoms that the dog needs veterinary assistance.
If your dog has helped himself to a large helping of meat and seems to struggle to vomit without success, I would advise contacting your veterinarian immediately since the animal may be suffering from bloat where the stomach flips over and strangulates the blood flow.
This is a life and death situation and needs immediate attention.
Second, since many veterinarians in small towns rely on the animal emergency center in Lexington to care for patients during off-hours, and since Lexington is 35 or more miles away, you need to weigh the condition of your pet against the time to get help.
Be prepared and have a Happy Thanksgiving!