Thanksgiving is less than a week away! While you plan your recipes and family dinners, your dogs are also planning on their own feast. They’re preparing for table scraps, anything children drop, and whatever you offer up because they know how to penetrate your soul with their big beautiful eyes. While most foods from your plate are safe for your pets, keep in mind the volume of what you allow them to eat. Overeating may be acceptable, and pretty much expected, for us on holidays but it can be harmful for our pets.
There is nothing wrong with sharing your Thanksgiving meals with your fur-babies, just be mindful about how much and what you are serving. First and foremost, always make sure everything you offer to your pets is not toxic to them (don’t forget about seasonings!). The Humane Society and ASPCA offer wonderful articles and resources with lists of foods that you should avoid and foods that are safe for dogs.
Overeating can cause digestive upsets, including vomiting, diarrhea, bloat, and lethargy. To avoid overfeeding your dog, make sure you reduce the amount of their usual food to balance the total volume for the day. When the body is overloaded with food, it has to work harder than normal to break down and digest it all, especially when those foods are high in sugar or fat. The stomach initiates the digestion process. From there, the spleen and pancreas break down the food further using natural enzymes. The pancreas, in particular, can become overwhelmed if met with a higher fat content than usual. This can cause acute pancreatitis. Signs of pancreatitis include a swollen and painful abdomen, vomiting, lack of appetite, and diarrhea. If your dogs experience these symptoms, only offer water to allow their bodies to rest, and contact your veterinarian.
Here are some tips to help make this holiday season is enjoyable for you and your dogs:
- Double check all ingredients in the food you offer your dog.
- Cross reference those ingredients with lists of safe foods.
- Reduce the amount of your dog’s regular food to compensate for holiday foods.
- Spread out their holiday meals to keep from overwhelming their digestion.
- Fresh sweet potatoes and pumpkin are great for upset tummies! Just don’t confuse that with pie filling.
- If you offer turkey to your dog, make sure it is cooked thoroughly (given the recent Salmonella reports and recalls) and remove the skin. Turkey skin is high in fat!
- The light meat is lower in fat.
- Turkey gizzards are full of nutrients beneficial to dogs!
- Never allow our dog to chew cooked bones, they splinter and can be very dangerous.
- Broth is a GREAT addition to your dog’s meal, minus the seasonings.
Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!
Resources for safe and toxic foods for dogs: