Don’t Be a Turkey: Holiday Food Safety for Pets

Don’t Be a Turkey: Holiday Food Safety for Pets

iStock_000023729783_MediumIt’s likely that turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce are on your mind this week. But, as you start to think about what you are going to fill your plate with during Thanksgiving dinner, take a moment to think about what you will be offering your pet.

It is fun to include family pets in our holiday celebrations, but when it comes to pets and people food, there can definitely be too much of a good thing. In fact, sharing food from your plate can be harmful to pets. Before offering up your turkey dinner, think about the following risks of sharing people food with pets:

Digestive Upset in Pets

Having too much people food, or even pet treats, can cause any pet to have an upset stomach. Pets who have over-indulged may be depressed and experience vomiting and/or diarrhea.

Some pets may even experience pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, if they consume too much food. While this condition can occur for seemingly no reason, many times it is set off when a pet consumes fatty, rich foods such as poultry skin, gravy, bacon, or other delicious, buttery dishes.

Pancreatitis can cause:

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Serious abdominal pain
  • Pets with pancreatitis may need aggressive treatment in the hospital until the episode subsides. Don’t risk digestive upset or, even worse, pancreatitis in your pet. If you do choose to offer people food, only offer small amounts of healthy options such as green beans or plain sweet potato.

    Obesity in Pets

    Despite what we would like to think, Thanksgiving dinner is not without calories. Just as with people, calories count for pets as well. Too much weight is a serious problem in our pets, resulting in shortened lifespan and increased risk for many serious diseases.

    Every little bit counts for our pets who need far fewer calories than a person to sustain themselves. Think about the calorie content in the items you choose to offer your pet this holiday.

    Diabetes in Pets

    Pets can develop diabetes mellitus, a condition in which the body is unable to utilize sugars for energy, just as people can. This irreversible and life-long condition does not always occur for a known reason, however certain pets are predisposed to developing diabetes. These pets include:

    Overweight pets – Pets who are overweight or obese are at a much higher risk of becoming diabetic. Keeping your pet at a healthy weight can make the chances of developing this disease much smaller.

    Pets with pancreatitis – The pancreas is responsible for producing insulin, the hormone responsible for sugar metabolism. If the pancreas is scarred and not functioning properly, it is unable to produce enough insulin, rendering the pet diabetic.

    Thanksgiving is a time for food and fun, and of course your pets should share in the celebration; but be sure to consider what effects sharing your dinner may have on them and make smart choices, and don’t forget to encourage your houseguests to do the same. We want to be sure your pets are happy and healthy for many holiday seasons to come.

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