Thanksgiving Hazards. Chocolate, Turkey Bones, Pie … Oh My!

Thanksgiving is a busy time for our emergency staff at Metro West. Over the long weekend last year, we saw 73 patients including one Springer Spaniel named Wally who ate half of a turkey carcass and a large slice of Pecan Pie. Although we’re sure Wally loved scarfing these treats down, it landed him in the hospital with a bad case of pancreatitis.

The last thing any pet owner wants to do on Thanksgiving is rush their pet to the animal emergency room!  But, the truth is that many pets are injured or poisoned during this time of the year. How can you make sure your holiday doesn’t end in disaster?

  • A small amount of white turkey is an acceptable treat but definitely avoid the turkey skin and the turkey bones!  The skin is often fatty and can cause pets to develop pancreatitis.
  • Poultry bones, especially cooked, have potential to both break off and cause a perforation of the digestive tract or, if large amounts are consumed, could cause an obstruction.
  • Other foods to avoid include:  grapes and raisins, excessively salty foods, foods flavored with onion or garlic powder, desserts and sweets containing Xylitol, and chocolates.
  • All leftovers should be secured behind a pet-proof door.
  • Remember, keep your trash can secure.  Many items used in the meal preparation and then thrown away can be dangerous.  A turkey string, foil wrappers, etc. may smell like food and be eaten by a curious pet.
  • Decorative plants are also a source of danger. Mistletoe and holly can cause vomiting and lilies are often deadly to cats. Poinsettias, despite their reputation, are not deadly and often cause little more than mild stomach upset.
  • Some holiday decorations are also dangerous. Ribbons and tinsel are especially attractive and hazardous to cats. Keep an eye on electrical cords to ensure puppies and kittens don’t chew on them.
  • During family gatherings, it might be best to keep pets confined if they are overly anxious. Also, monitor people going in and out of the front door. Pets might take advantage and try to escape.
  • Remember that Metro West is open 24-7 during the holiday weekend. We’re here around the clock for you and your pet!