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Thanksgiving Holiday Dangers to Avoid

Posted December 15, 2014 in Dog Checkups & Preventive Care

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Ah, Thanksgiving… a joyous holiday when friends and family join us for a day of football, lounging, and all-day tryptophan turkey tasting. The smell of cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie, and turkey all baking in the oven slowly filter through the house, driving you – and your dog - slowly mad.

Being that my specialty is emergency and critical care (and being that I work at an animal poison control too), I have to start my first blog by telling you how to avoid a visit to the animal ER! Here, a few tips on how to pet-proof this Thanksgiving holiday (which would make your emergency veterinarian grateful too!):

First word of advice? Keep your dog out of the kitchen…or better yet, crate him.  Accidental counter-surfing can result in severe poisoning to your pet, ruining your holiday and causing you shame when you have to induce vomiting in your dog in front of all your friends and family (Always check with your veterinarian or an animal poison control helpline prior to inducing vomiting, of course.).

Next, make sure your guests know the house rules: Don’t feed your pets. Your friends and family may not be aware of the common kitchen foods that are quite poisonous to pets. Politely inform all your guests to keep their food out of reach and to never feed your pet without your permission (particularly if your pet has food allergies).

Last? Dump the trash. Somehow, your dog will find a way to get into it, and the leftover corn-on-the-cob, yummy string that goes around the turkey legs, turkey skin, bones, moldy food, and fatty grizzle all pose a threat to your pet. Potential problems from “garbage gut” include gastroenteritis (e.g., vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain), pancreatitis (severe inflammation of the pancreas), a gastrointestinal obstruction, or even tremors or seizures.

So, what tops the list for the most dangerous Thanksgiving foods that are poisonous to your dog? Read on to learn more. 
Grapes, raisins, and currants
Currants and raisins are commonly found in stuffing, baked goods, and as snacks. When ingested, these fruit from the Vitus sp. can result in severe acute kidney failure. Signs of poisoning often don’t show up for days, until kidney failure has already taken place.
Onions, leeks, chives, and garlic
When ingested, these common kitchen foods

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Justine has more than 18 years of experience in the veterinary industry and is a board-certified emergency critical care veterinary specialist and toxicologist as well as the CEO and founder of Vetgirl. She is also a founding member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team.