Eight Tips for Feeding Your Pets this Thanksgiving
As Thanksgiving approaches, people across the country are getting ready to share in the festivities with their families. For pet owners, ‘family’ can include a number of furry friends too.
As tempting as it may be to include your dog or cat (or even rodent, bird or reptile) in the revelries, you should take extra precautions when sharing your Thanksgiving meal with your pets. Many of the delicious foods on your table this fall may be dangerous for animals to consume, no matter how delicious they seem to humans.
Keeping your pet safe is always the number one priority, so here are 8 top tips for feeding Thanksgiving leftovers to your pets.
#1 TURKEY — Gobble it Up!
Turkey is a great and tasty source of protein for both humans and animals. If you wish to feed a few scraps to your cat or dog, make sure you remove any skin, fat and bones first. Only feed your pet cooked turkey – raw meat can contain salmonella, a major cause of stomach upset.
#2 BONES — Not-So-Funny Bones
While you may see bones as a great, classic dog treat, make sure you don’t offer your pup any leftover bones this Thanksgiving. Cooked turkey bones can splinter very easily and tear into your pet’s digestive system. Small bones can also cause blockages which may require expensive surgery to dislodge.
#3 STUFFING — Get Stuffed!
Stuffing may seem harmless at first, but its ingredients can present a problem for many animals. Stuffing usually contains alliums, a group of foods including onions, leeks and garlic. Alliums, while not immediately dangerous in moderation, can lead to pets contracting anaemia over time.
Your stuffing may also contains herbs, many of which contain essential oils which cause stomach upsets and other, more serious illnesses, particularly in cats.
#4 BREAD — Dough’nt Do It!
If you’re baking bread this Thanksgiving, be sure to keep the raw dough away from your pets. In the same way that yeast causes bread to rise in a hot, damp place, it will also make the dough rise in your furry buddy’s stomach. This expansion can cause severe pain and vomiting, and could be fatal in some circumstances.
#5 VEGETABLES — Peas and Thank You!
Dogs, cats and most other animals don’t require the same amount of vegetables in their diets as their owners do, but veggies still make a healthy, tasty treat. Feel free to offer your pets peas, carrots, green beans, broccoli, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and other fresh or cooked vegetables if you have any going spare.
Just be wary of any hidden additions – avoid feeding Fluffy a casserole in case it contains harmful ingredients, and don’t give your pet any vegetables which have been prepared with cheese, butter, cream, herbs or alliums.
#6 CRANBERRY SAUCE — Thank You Berry Much!
Cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving staple, and luckily your pets can enjoy it just as much as you do. Cranberries are a healthy fruit and some specialists have suggested that they may help in preventing and treating urinary tract infections in cats and dogs. Be mindful of quantity, however, as most cranberry sauces have a high sugar level.
#7 GRAVY — Good Gravy!
There is no harm is giving your kitty or pup a lick of gravy, as long as you are sure of the ingredients. Many gravies do contain herbs and alliums, and some may be use butter or cream as a thickener. These products are not suitable for animal consumption. A simple gravy made mainly of cooked-off meat juices is your best bet.
#8 CAKES & CANDY — No Kit-Kats for Kitty!
Cakes and pies are always welcome at the Thanksgiving table, but they won’t be welcome in your dog or cat’s tummy. Uncooked cake batter containing raw eggs can harbour salmonella bacteria, just like raw turkey. In addition to this, some cakes (such as fruit cake) may contain alcohol, which is toxic to animals even in tiny amounts.
Even if you have a cooked, alcohol-free cake, it’s best to avoid giving your pet a nibble due to the high sugar content. As usual, you should keep chocolate well out of your pet’s reach. It only takes a tiny amount of chocolate to kill your pet before you’ve even noticed him or her eating it.
All in all, there is no harm in treating your pet to their own Thanksgiving feast as long as you’re careful and responsible. Make sure to keep all safe foods to a minimum, as introducing a lot of new foods to an animal’s diet at once can cause stomach upsets and diarrhoea or constipation.
The best bet for pet owners everywhere is to add a small amount of your leftovers to your pet’s regular meal – and don’t forget to keep filled garbage bags away from any hungry, determined animals!