Each year, millions of pets become ill during the holidays, with intestinal obstructions, chocolate toxicity, burns and pancreatitis being some of the most common reasons. In order to ensure that your Thanksgiving holidays are filled with happiness rather than long waits in a veterinary emergency room, follow these simple precautions to help keep your pets safe.
Calorie-filled holiday feasts and sweets can hurt our waistlines by packing on a few extra pounds. Although in keeping with the holiday spirit of goodwill, sharing our leftovers with our pets can lead to pet obesity. Pet obesity is associated with significant health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. In addition giving leftovers routinely also promotes begging and reinforces bad behavior.
Besides leading to obesity, eating fatty holiday foods can also cause a life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas gland called pancreatitis. In pets, pancreatitis is usually caused by ingestion of fatty foods like turkey, ham, gravy, and chicken skins. If left untreated, it can be fatal. Instead of giving your pet leftovers from your holiday meal, give your pet a pet-safe treat or a new toy.
Bones also pose a serious danger to pets. Poultry bones are dangerous because they can splinter and get lodged in the gastrointestinal tract and therefore should never be given to pets. Ham and beef bones can break teeth or can also cause intestinal obstructions. If you wish to give your pet a special holiday treat, instead of giving them bones consider giving them a healthy dental treat specially intended for safe chewing and dental hygiene.
Never give your pets chocolate. Fortunately most people know that chocolate can be toxic to pets. Even small quantities can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and even death so keep chocolate out of their reach.
Although the holidays are usually joyous times, as anyone who has ever hosted a holiday party knows, they can also be stressful times. This can be especially true for our pets. The revolving door of visiting guests and the break from the routine can frighten our pets and cause them to run away. If your pet tends to easily get scared, nervous, or becomes protective, it is important to keep them confined safely inside your house. Many pets are lost during the holidays when they jump out of their yard or dart out of an open door.. Remember all pets, even strictly indoor cats, should have collars with tags and microchips so that if they become lost they can be returned safely home.
Keep these important tips in mind during the holidays in order to keep your pets safe. Instead of giving your pet leftovers from your holiday meal, give your pet a pet-safe treat or a new toy. Paying careful attention to these warnings will help keep the holidays happy for you and your pet and should prevent unscheduled visits to the vet.