Ensuring a healthy Thanksgiving for your pets
By Dr. Roger Krogstad, DVM
Wildwood Animal Hospital and Clinic LLC
The activity and smells of Thanksgiving are soon to sweep through the house. Our pets are also aware of this great event with the smell of turkey and a wastebasket full of discarded goodies. It takes but a minute for a pet to ingest uncooked giblets, the string off of a roast, or other nondigestible delicacies from the garbage.
The traditional turkey is a common culprit for pet illness. Ingested turkey grease can trigger a severe pancreatic inflammation that could require hospitalization. One client put the roaster outside on the porch to cool after the turkey was removed and later had a gravely ill pet that had consumed the fatty drippings.
Turkey bones are not a “treat” for Fido. These thin-walled, hollow bones can be like little splinters when swallowed, and a day later when incorporated in the stool create a constipation with pain on attempts to pass.
Most dogs’ digestive systems are in a fine balance with the type and amount of dog food fed daily. Table scraps, though appealing, can upset this balance and cause vomiting and diarrhea. When the balance is shifted, different bacteria, some with toxic waste products, can bloom and create severe digestive system illness. Salmonella bacteria and poultry exist together in nature, thus the recommendation for thorough cooking of the Thanksgiving turkey to 165 degrees internal temperature. Precooked fat trimmings, raw giblets, or the bags removed from around the turkey could contain this pathogen and pass on to your pets if eaten, another cause of severe digestive illness.
Along with visitors come their pets. Are they as thorough as you with vaccination protection and parasite treatment? The fleas’ motto, “Have dog, will travel,” holds true with aunt Millie’s dog from Milwaukee. Ask if they are current on vaccinations and have been treated regularly for fleas and have had fecal checks for intestinal parasites. Pick up all of the visiting pet’s stools as a precaution as well, and closely monitor the first interaction to identify potential conflict.
If your pet will be traveling for the holiday and is a nervous traveler, ask your veterinarian about ways to reduce the stress of travel. It is best to take your own food and water from home. Also, a few shorter trial trips would be recommended before the big trip.
Wishing you and your pets a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.
Wildwood Animal Hospital and Clinic LLC is located at 210 Airpark Road in Marshfield and online at wildwoodanimalhospital.net.