Thanksgiving across the U.S. brings families together to give thanks – and to enjoy a lot of delicious food! But did you know that this time-honored tradition can make dogs extremely sick? A lot of dogs get table scraps at this time of year, particularly on the day after Thanksgiving. And, many dogs get taken to pet emergency rooms after the holiday because of what they ate. According to PetMd.com, the fatty foods that we humans eat at Thanksgiving are harmful to dogs and can trigger pancreatitis in dogs.
You may think that your dog is immune. You may have occasionally fed your dog fatty leftovers in the past, such as mashed potatoes (with butter or cream cheese) or chicken pieces (including the skin) and not had any problem. However, especially in light of typical Thanksgiving meal doses, there are several things that dogs should not eatelse they risk a Black Friday trip to the vet. According to School For The Dogs, in addition to high fat foods such as ham, pan drippings, and turkey skins, dogs should avoid eating onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, chocolate, nutmeg, sage, and alcohol.
PreventiveVet.com adds to the list of human food dogs should avoid, by including stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams, corn on the cob, yeast bread or rolls, and desserts. But, fear not, there are table scraps, i.e. treats, that your dog can enjoy during the holidays. Raw vegetables, such as green beans and carrots, are generally healthy for dogs, as are apple slices and pumpkin puree. Canine Journal offers a list of human food that dogs should avoidand human food that is safe for dogs.
If it’s too hard to resist giving your dog some of these delicious table scraps, perhaps thinking about your dog’s potential suffering and the vet bill will help you. Jasper, our 13-year old Weimaraner, normally only eats his dog food and raw plain fruits and vegetables (he loves carrots, apples, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, bananas, and green beans). We were a bit surprised recently when his normally controlled irritable bowel (IBD) flared. Jasper doesn’t get fatty scraps. We took him to the vet and discovered he had pancreatitis. Although there are other causes, we found out that normally pancreatitis in dogs is associated with eating too many fatty foods. That’s how we discovered from our vet that Black Friday is usually a really busy day for emergency pet facilities. After a couple of anxious days on an IV, a dehydrated Jasper returned back to normal. We were fortunate because pancreatitis can be extremely serious.
So, for two days at the vet, a few tests, and a night at the emergency clinic, plus a few more days of rest, we faced a bill for a bit over $1,500 USD. While we never discovered what caused pancreatitis in Jasper, we learned a lot about what causes pancreatitis in most dogs. The bottom line is, we recommend being disciplined . . . and keeping your pooch away from holiday food to minimize the risks. Please talk to your vet about any symptoms you’re uncertain about or if your dog is exhibiting unusual traits or behaviors.
Wishing everyone a very happy, and pet-healthy, Thanksgiving!
Jim and Lisa