We are all so very thankful on Thanksgiving. We are thankful for our careers, thankful for our health, thankful for our families, and many of us are thankful for our beloved dogs. Naturally, given our love and gratitude for our furry family members, we want them to partake in the enjoyment of the Thanksgiving feast. I understand. And this is okay, provided you follow some common sense guidelines:
1.) Feed only lean cuts of turkey.
2.) Mix in some vegetables if you dog likes them provided they are not over salted or slathered in butter and/or cheese.
3.) If you are a household that enjoys ham as part of the Thanksgiving feast, DO NOT share any with your dog.
4.) DO NOT offer bones of any kind, as they commonly splinter and get stuck in the canine gut.
5.) DO NOT offer dessert of any kind unless it is fruit. Even fruit should be be offered in small amounts, and NO GRAPES.
6.) DO NOT feed highly carbaceous (sorry, I think I invented my own word here) items such as potatoes and pasta, as heavy carbs commonly lead to tummy upset.
7.) DO NOT feed items that are high in fat. Fat not only commonly upsets the tummy, but it can also set off pancreatitis, a severe and debilitating inflammatory disease of the pancreas.
8.) Secure your trash from prying paws!
Despite our best efforts to spread the word about common sense precautions to help your dogs enjoy Thanksgiving without any adverse health consequences, there will inevitably be a long day of fraught with vomiting and diarrhea cases in my veterinary clinic tomorrow. Most vomiting and diarrhea is either self limiting or easily treatable, but for some unfortunates, vomiting especially be a mere symptom of something far worse than just an upset tummy.
I already touched on pancreatitis. This is a common and serious disease that often requires hospitalization. Not a week goes by that I do not see at least one case of pancreatitis and there tends to be a spike in pancreatitis cases around the holidays because it is commonly set off by ingestion of a high fat food item.
Or course, there is the all too common gastrointestinal foreign body obstruction. Bones are our biggest offender here, but I have seen all manner of obstructive items in the gut, including disposable pans and aluminum foil. These cases commonly require surgical removal of stated foreign body.
I bid all of my readers a safe, healthy, and abundant Thanksgiving. I am thankful that so many people actually care to read my writing and listen to my podcast.
Dr. Roger Welton is the President of Maybeck Animal Hospital in West Melbourne, FL, Chief Editor of the Veterinary Advice and Information Website, Web-DVM, and founder/CEO of Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care.