Thanksgiving Dog Safety

Make your Thanksgiving holiday fun and safe for your whole family, including the dog.

We asked veterinarians to share the main emergencies they see this time of year, and some tips on how your family can avoid them.

The number one danger is toxicity caused by dogs ingesting either poisonous items or the proverbial “too much of a good thing is bad.”  During the Thanksgiving weekend, Petplan Insurance sees pancreatitis claims increase by 78% and gastroenteritis claims rise by 27%. The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center in Illinois saw 167,000 toxicity cases over Thanksgiving weekend 2010.

Jennifer Hennessey, DVM, CVJ of Sugar Land Veterinary Specialists in Texas told us about a sad situation where a dog got into the garbage and ate the turkey remains. As a result the dog suffered severe pancreatitis. Please follow the below tips to avoid a tragedy.

Thanksgiving Day Pet Safety Tips:

1. Give treats, not scraps.  Instead of offering dangerous table scraps or leftovers, give your dog an extra doggy treat instead. His favorite type of dog treat, a couple of carrots, frozen peanut butter in a treat toy, even an extra serving of his own kibble are all safe treats that will still give your dog a taste of holiday cheer.

2. No bones about it. Resist that urge to throw your dog a bone. According to Dr. Jules Benson, VP of Veterinary Services at Petplan Pet Insurance, turkey bones are soft and, like all fowl bones, are hollow, so they can splinter easily, causing damage and/or obstruction to your pet’s digestive tract.

3. Secure garbage. Every vet we spoke to said most often the dogs that come to the emergency room got there from getting into the garbage, where they ingest not only too much turkey, but also harmful things like bones, chocolate, plastic wrappers, etc. Keep the tempting garbage out of reach of your dog. The safest place is outside or in a room the dog is blocked from.

4. Holiday plants, a deadly beauty. Most of the indoor plants we like to decorate with during the holidays—poinsettias, mistletoe, holly, autumn crocus, Thanksgiving cactus—are toxic to pets. Keep these out of reach of your pet, or, better yet, buy fakes.

5. Get help. If your pet does ingest something, call your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 (charges apply). Know which emergency vet clinics will be open during the holiday weekend and have their telephone number and address handy.

Have a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving!

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