While the sight and smell of Thanksgiving dinner might be irresistible to your pet, most things on the holiday table will do him more harm than good. From eating seasoned meat to swallowing turkey bones to lapping up unattended alcoholic beverages, Thanksgiving presents numerous opportunities for trouble for your dog or cat. It’s up to you to be extra vigilant on this holiday to prevent an accident or illness that neither you nor your pet will appreciate.
It shouldn’t be a big surprise that the biggest attraction of the day is often the most dangerous. If you do decide to share a piece of turkey with your dog or cat, make absolutely certain that it doesn’t contain any bones. It’s also essential that the meat not be raw or undercooked to avoid a case of food poisoning. Even if your dog normally loves getting new bones, avoid the temptation to give her the leftover turkey carcass. It contains too many small bones that your dog doesn’t have the ability to digest properly.
Foods to Avoid
While a small piece of well-cooked boneless turkey won’t cause any harm, some traditional Thanksgiving foods are off-limits for pets. These include:
- Avocado: Poisons can linger in the pit and leaves of an avocado fruit that is toxic enough to cause fluid to accumulate in the lungs, abdomen, pancreas, and heart of animals. Oxygen deprivation can occur in severe cases and cause death.
- Bread Dough: If your pet consumes raw bread dough, the yeast converts the sugars it contains into alcohol and carbon dioxide gas. This can result in bloating as well as drunkenness in dogs and cats. Although it may seem amusing, it’s a serious situation that requires immediate treatment.
- Cake: Be sure to keep your pet out of the kitchen if you intend to make a cake or other baked goods using raw eggs. Unfortunately, ingesting uncooked eggs can lead to food poisoning if they contain salmonella.
- Garlic and Onions: These both contain sulfides, a chemical that can damage red blood cells in pets. Garlic and onion are especially toxic to cats as they can cause anemia. It’s best to stay away from anything containing these ingredients, even if it’s only in powder form.
- Grapes and Raisins: If you add either of these to salads, be sure to keep them out of your pet’s reach while preparing them. The small size presents a choking hazard in addition to increasing the risk of kidney damage.
Distract Your Pet with a Feast of His Own
While the family is busy eating and socializing in the dining room, set up a small area in another room just for your pet. To keep his mind off what is happening within smelling distance, provide your dog with new chew toys and stuff them full of safe food items such as boneless turkey. For cats, include a tasty treat or two in a dish along with some new toys. You may need to select a room where you can close the door until everyone has finished their Thanksgiving dinner.
If an urgent situation does arise, please view our emergency information page for instructions on how to seek care for your pet.
Most Common Types of Cancer in Pets
Veterinarians diagnosis the following types of cancer most often in companion animals:
- Abdominal: This may include cancers of the spleen, kidneys, intestines, and liver. Tumors can be hard to diagnose initially because the pet’s swollen abdomen conceals them well.
- Bladder: This type tends to occur more often in pets exposed to secondhand smoke.
- Bone (Osteosarcoma): Most common in large dogs, bone cancer typically appears in the leg bone or ribs.
- Breast: This is the most common type of cancer in female dogs. When present in cats, it becomes malignant in 85 percent of cases.
- Canine Lymphoma: This cancer develops in the intestinal tract, bone marrow, and white blood cells of dogs.
- Feline Leukemia: Kittens are at highest risk of this disease and often inherit it from their mothers at birth. Since it is highly contagious, veterinarians recommend vaccines for outdoor cats or homes with two or more cats.
- Oral: Dogs with mouth cancer may have difficulty eating or bleed from the nose. It’s not a common diagnosis in cats.
- Prostate and Testicular: Both of these are aggressive cancers in male pets. The first noticeable symptom is often difficulty with defecating since the tumor pressing on the lower colon makes it difficult to pass stool. Testicular cancer is more common in pets who live around environmental toxins and who have untreated parasite infestations.
- Skin: This type receives treatment most often because it’s easiest to see. It’s most common in pets who spend long hours in the sunlight.
Symptoms of Cancer
Since pets can’t speak and tell you when something is wrong, it’s important to know the symptoms of cancer and check your dog or cat for them on a regular basis. The most common ones include:
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty eliminating
- Offensive odor
- Stiff walk
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Bleeding from any opening in the body
- Weight loss
- Sores that heal slowly or not at all
- Abnormal swellings that grow larger over time
- Unusual fatigue
Having one or even several of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean that your pet has cancer. However, it’s important to schedule an appointment with Grantsburg Animal Hospital as soon as you notice them. No matter what we determine to be the cause of your pet’s symptoms, it’s crucial to begin a treatment protocol as soon as possible.