NS. GEORGE – Thanksgiving dinner is a staple of the holidays and can bring together an array of fancy culinary delights that can be enjoyed by the thanksgiving at the table. But in many families there is another family member who would also like to partake in the wonderfully fragrant meal that shouldn’t be: the family’s pet.
Cookie the Dog asks for food and does not care about your excuses, St. George, Utah, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Feeding your pet table litter from Thanksgiving dinner isn’t the best idea, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. The association warns that certain foods, typically served around the holidays, can cause serious media problems for your pets – especially your dog.
“To enjoy the family celebration too much can be unhealthy for humans, but worse for pets,” says the AVMA website. “Fat feed is difficult for animals to digest. Poultry bones can damage your pet’s digestive tract. And Christmas sweets can contain ingredients that are toxic to pets. “
Top of the list to avoid is fat from meats like turkey and ham, even in small amounts. Fatty foods can be difficult to digest and also cause pancreatitis.
“Many of the foods may not be directly toxic, but they can be dangerous, especially if they are really fatty,” said Dr. Colton Gust of the Dixie Vet Clinic across from St. George News. He added that pets that eat fatty foods can experience vomiting and diarrhea.
Photo by Nattakorn Maneerat / iStock / Getty Images Plus, St. George News
Grapes, raisins, onions, and pecans are also not on the list for pets. These can be toxic and cause kidney problems and, with the pecans, possible seizures.
Bones that splinter and pose a risk of suffocation or an intestinal obstruction should also be avoided.
Xylitol, an artificial sweetener, can “cause rapid and severe blood sugar drops in dogs,” according to MyPet.com. Consumption of foods containing the sweetener can cause seizures and kidney failure in a dog. Ingesting large amounts of xylitol can be fatal.
Giving pets chocolate or alcohol is also a big no-no, and if someone plans to bake bread for part of their Thanksgiving festival, Gust said they should make sure the dog doesn’t get near the batter .
“Bread dough – the yeast – can cause serious (gastrointestinal) discomfort and can even require surgery,” said Gust. “Bread dough can expand very, very quickly in a dog’s stomach, creating serious gastrointestinal problems that may require surgery to prevent further problems.”
Baked macadamia nuts. These nuts are a no-no food for pets as they cause symptoms such as hind leg weakness, pain, tremors, and fever, which, according to MyPet.com, can last up to 48 hours after a dog has eaten them. | Photo by Hans Braxmeier on Pixabay, St. George News
While dogs tend to be the main focus of Thanksgiving table scrap advice, Gust said much of this can be applied to cats as well. The main difference is that a cat may be able to get into places in a house that a dog may not otherwise be able to, which a pet owner must also consider, especially if the cat is having digestive problems. And be careful not to leave any groceries on the counters.
Some other foods pets should avoid, as listed on MyPets.com, are: macadamia nuts, garlic, avocados, hops, ethanol (alcohol), apple kernels, fruit kernels, coffee, mushrooms, mustard seeds, potato or tomato leaves and stalks, rhubarb leaves , Salt, tea and walnuts.
In addition to food, it is also recommended to keep pets away from decorative holiday plants and flowers, which may be toxic to them. These include Amaryllis, Baby’s Breath, Sweet William, some ferns, hydrangeas, and more. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals website lists other problem plants for dogs and cats.
“People often don’t think of these plants when they prepare for the holidays,” said Gust.
As for Thanksgiving foods that could be fed to a pet, Gust said his best to avoid potential problems by not giving the pet anything beyond normal food.
“I usually reply to pet owners, ‘If it’s on the table, it should stay on the table,” Gust said.
If you want to give your pet something special for Thanksgiving, AVMA and ASPCA recommend getting them a treat that is specifically designed for their consumption and not intended for humans.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.
Mori Kessler is Senior Reporter for St. George News, having served as a writer and interim editor from 2011-12 and as assistant editor from 2012 to mid-2014. He began freelancing news for Today in Dixie in 2009 and joined the St. George News writing team in mid-2010. He enjoys photography and won a photojournalism award from the Society of Professional Journalists for a 2018 photo of a bee inspector removing wild bees from a Washington City home. He’s also a shameless nerd and has a poor sense of direction.