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Thanksgiving Holiday Dangers to Avoid

Reviewed by Dr. Sarah Tasse, DVM on Thursday, October 8, 2015
Posted December 15, 2014 in Dog Checkups & Preventive Care

Ah, Thanksgiving, a joyous holiday when friends and family join us for football, lounging and all-day tryptophan-filled 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. With all of this temptation, it’s tough not to get distracted, but let’s not forget that with delicious human food comes pet risk. As a board-certified veterinary specialist in both emergency critical care and toxicology, I felt it would be a good idea to tell you how to avoid a visit to the animal ER!

Here are a few simple tips to help pet-proof this Thanksgiving holiday (which would make your emergency veterinarian grateful too!).

Dog behind a baby gateKeep 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 ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center prior to inducing vomiting).

Don’t let friends and family feed your pets
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 ask permission before feeding any treats (particularly if your pet has food allergies).

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.

The most dangerous Thanksgiving foods
So, what tops the list for the most-dangerous, Thanksgiving foods? Check out my top 7 list here:

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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.