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Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude and coming together for a delicious meal. All of that cooking fills the air with delicious, tempting smells for people and pets alike. Pet parents and their family members may want to share their tasty feast with the cats and dogs in the home. While some foods are okay to share with pets in moderation, others could prove harmful or even toxic. Knowing the difference is key to keeping pets safe and healthy.
Pet parents know how hard it can be to say no to a pair of eyes watching their every move as they enjoy a delicious meal. Fortunately, there are plenty of components of the feast their cat or dog can eat in small amounts:
Carrots: When it comes to Thanksgiving food dogs can eat, carrots are one of the best as long as they are unseasoned. They should ideally be cooked and contain many essential vitamins and minerals needed for optimal health. Unlike dogs, cats have a carnivorous diet. Though raw vegetables are not toxic to their systems, they can cause digestive problems. Steamed veggies are preferred as a small snack.
Sweet potatoes and pumpkin: Like carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin should be cooked and contain many essential vitamins and minerals. They’re also high in fiber.
Green beans: Green beans can make an excellent snack for dogs, too. Like other vegetables, they’re high in nutrients essential for good health. As with other vegetables, pet parents should make sure they’re plain and steamed is a better option.
Turkey breast: While cats might not be interested in many foods on the dinner table, turkey is one Thanksgiving food they can eat and might actually want. Whether feeding it to cats or dogs, pet parents should make sure there’s no bones, skin, or seasonings on the meat.
Apples: Many families serve apple pie for dessert. Pie isn’t ideal for cats and dogs. Dogs can, however, enjoy some fresh apple slices before they get mixed in sugar and spices.
There are also a number of Thanksgiving foods pets shouldn’t eat. While some may cause minor digestive upset, others can cause serious harm. Here are a few foods pet parents should avoid sharing:
High-fat foods: Turkey skin, sausage, fried foods, gravy, and anything laden with cream, butter, or cheese can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. In some cases, they can even cause pancreatitis.
Any meat with bones: Cooked bones are choking hazards. They can also splinter, which could harm a pet’s digestive tract.
Seasonings: Seasonings, spices, salt, and pepper can upset a cat or dog’s stomach. Garlic and onions in any form are toxic to dogs and cats.
Stuffing: Stuffing typically contains onions and garlic, both of which are toxic to cats and dogs.
Grapes and raisins: Both grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in pets.
Chocolate: Ingesting chocolate can cause significant problems in cats and dogs. Issues can range from vomiting and diarrhea to tremors and seizures.
Taking steps to keep pets safe on Thanksgiving is essential for avoiding a trip to the emergency vet. Pet parents can start by establishing some ground rules. They can ask guests not to feed pets anything (or at least ask first). Young children should be watched closely to ensure they don’t give anything to a pet or that pets don’t take anything from their plates.
Pet parents should never leave pets alone in rooms where they’ll have access to food. They can create safe spaces for their cat or dog, such as a separate, closed-off room or kennel. A blanket or bed, toys, and a bowl of water can make the space comfortable and relaxing.
Finally, pet parents should make a plan before an emergency arises. They can consult with the Fuzzy Veterinarian Team 24/7 for cat health advice, dog health advice, and other dietary and pet wellness questions. Pet parents should also have the name, number, and address of the nearest emergency vet. They should be contacted right away if a pet ingests anything toxic.
Pet parents are understandably thankful for their pets. As such, they often want their cats and dogs to take part in the Thanksgiving festivities. While not every food is safe, there are plenty that are. Knowing which foods are safe (and which aren’t) can help pet parents ensure a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.