Monday, November 23, 2009

Turkey Pet Safety 101: Thanksgiving Food Your Pet Should Avoid

Thanksgiving is a time of gathering, feasting till your hearts & waistline content, and last but not least hitting the snooze button for some Zzzz’s. With all the fixings of a Thanksgiving meal, and sad puppy eyes gazing at that prize drumstick you can be tempted to set out an extra place setting or share the turkey fare, scraps and leftovers with your furry family member . While your motives may be good, many of the foods you will be cooking on the big day are doggy no no's. In fact, some of your most beloved turkey fixings including grandma's famous cornbread stuffing secret family recipe, can be hazardous to your pets health and cause illness or even death. Here are a few foods that your dog should always avoid and why.

Turkey Skin – High-fat foods, such as turkey skin & gravy, can be hazardous to your dog. Since the skin is hard to digest, it can lead to pancreatitis (symptoms are vomiting, extreme depression, reluctance to move, and abdominal pain) . If you still want to share your bird, give your dog a small piece of white meat.

Macademia Nuts- If ingested can cause a toxic reaction called macadamia nut toxicosis. Within twelve hours of eating the nuts dogs can start to develop symptoms such as an inability to stand, ataxia (walking wobbly), depression, vomiting, muscle tremors, hyperthermia (elevated body temperature), weakness, and an elevated heart rate. Usually the symptoms go away within 48 hours but the weakness, vomiting, and fear can lead to dangerous, and sometimes deadly, shock.

Turkey Bones - Cooked poultry bones are brittle and splinter easily. If ingested, they can lodge in the esophagus or cause stomach or intestinal irritation.

Xylitol - This sweetener is present in products from gum to sugar-free cookies. Even in small amounts, ingestion can cause low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure, and death.

Grapes and Raisins - These common snacks although healthy for you, can induce permanent and life-threatening kidney failure in some dogs. Though some pets seem to handle eating grapes just fine, it's safest to avoid grapes and raisins completely.

Chocolate - Most pet owners are aware of chocolate's danger, but with the recent popularity of dark chocolates -- which contain higher doses of toxic cocoa -- it's more important than ever to be vigilant about chocolate consumption. Ingestion can cause abnormal heartbeats, kidney failure, and near death by chocolate.

Onions - High levels of onion ingestion in dogs and cats can cause life-threatening anemia. Be aware of food at your table -- such as stuffing or casseroles -- that may contain this dangerous ingredient.

Raw bread dough- Rising dough in combination with your pets stomach can be deadly. If eaten by your dog can rises in their stomach, causing terrible abdominal pain, vomitting and bloat.

Nutmeg - This is a very popular spice found in sweet potato, yams, pumpkin pie & dessert dishes. It has mild hallucinogenic properties, can cause seizures, tremors, central nervous system problems in dogs. In severe cases, shock and death have been reported.

Sage- Contains essential oils and resins that can cause stomach upset and central nervous system depression if eaten in large amounts.

Cake Batter-Don't let your dog be the official bowl batter licker. Cake batter, especially if it contains raw eggs, may contain salmonella.

**IMPORTANT: Make sure to discard of your table scraps and leftovers properly and right away so your dogs excited taste buds won't get him or her in trouble and sent to the vet. It is important to put scraps in a dog proof sealed garbage can that even the most skilled four legged dumpster diver can't infiltrate.

Many other human foods can also be harmful to your dog, so always beware and do your research first. It is important to keep your dog's medical background in mind. If your dog is on a vet recommended strict diet stay the course to avoid other future health problems. As always consult you veterinarian for dietary recommendations and guidelines specific to your pet.

If you suspect that your dog may have ingested one of these foods or another harmful substance, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center National Hotline: 888-426-4435.

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