OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Thanksgiving should be a time spent with friends and family – not at your local emergency animal hospital.
Doctors at BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospitals say they typically see a significant uptick in cases during the holiday season. The most common problems include gastrointestinal irritations with vomiting and diarrhea, pancreatitis from eating fatty foods, and an increase in animals struck by vehicles.
“It’s unfortunate because most of the cases we see are preventable,” said Dr. Jacqueline Nobles, a board-certified specialist in critical care with BluePearl. “By taking some basic precautions, pet owners can ensure a safe and happy Thanksgiving for all members of the family.”
Nobles offered the following tips to keep pets safe:
- Don’t give your dog bones from your holiday turkey or ham. These can get lodged in the throat, which may cause choking or pierce the esophagus. Bones can also splinter and cause the intestinal track to become perforated.
- Foods high in fat content can cause pancreatitis, so avoid feeding table scraps. Also, make sure to seal garbage bags and place them in a tightly covered container to prevent your pets from getting into them.
- Many foods used in holiday cooking are not safe for animals. Onions, garlic, chocolate, raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts and raw or undercooked food can create major problems for pets. Make sure friends and family aren’t sneaking treats to your pets.
- Be especially vigilant about xylitol, a sweetener found in sugar-free gums, cookies and candies. The substance, which is extremely toxic to pets, is also used for baking and can even be found in some brands of peanut butter. If you suspect your pet has ingested xylitol, get to an emergency animal hospital as quickly as possible, Nobles said.
- As guests and deliveries come and go, there’s an increased opportunity for pets to slip out the door unnoticed. Try to keep pets inside, and make sure ID tags and microchip information are up to date. This greatly increases the chances of a successful reunion.
“The holidays can be stressful for everyone – including pets,” Nobles added. “If your cat or dog starts showing signs of illness or distress, be sure to take them to your family veterinarian or an emergency animal hospital right away.”