We've all been there, eating at the dinner table and your dog is waiting for a free hand out or for a child to "accidentally" drop food on the ground for a quick treat. In our line of work there are numerous medications that are harmful to dogs, and even some medications that may be okay in general with canines, but a select few breeds have genetic level genes that make those same medications toxic to them. The same goes with food, there are certain caveats to consider such as how it is cooked, prepped, or what form it is in. While most food is typically safe for pets, there are plenty of foods that will cause minor temporary issues and some that are downright toxic to dogs. As the holiday season approaches, we will take a look at what is ok for your pet, and foods that are not okay. SAFE HOLIDAY FOODS FOR YOUR DOG (SOME WITH SPECIAL CAVEATS) > Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrots, Peas, Apples (raw or cooked) - In general most vegetables are safe, the potatoes can be mashed (without the added cream/milk), baked, or roasted, but the important thing with these foods are that they are given to your dog plain. No butter, seasonings, sugar, or salt have been added. > Pumpkin - This is an excellent food for dogs. It is rich in nutrients and high in fiber, pumpkin helps with digestive health and beneficial for the dog's skin and coat. Make sure it is plain without any added sugars and seasonings and has been cooked and chopped. If you are giving pumpkin our of a can, be sure it is pure pumpkin puree and not pre-seasoned with sugar or spices.
> Turkey - In short yes, turkey is a great protein for dogs but not without some caveats. Obviously, it should be thoroughly cooked, and needs to be the lean, bone-free, and skinless portion of the turkey. The skin is usually processed with butter, oil, seasoning, or other ingredients that could lead to pancreatitis and digestive issues.
FOODS TO AVOID GIVING TO YOUR DOG
> Ham - This is a fatty meat and can potentially cause pancreatitis and digestive issues.
> Meat with bones - Bones can lead to rare esophageal obstruction, or gastric/intestinal obstruction.
> Raisins/Grapes - These are toxic to dogs and can lead to kidney failure.
> Macadamia Nuts - Also toxic to dogs and can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, tremors or other severe medical issues.
> Onions/Garlic - Toxic in large quantities, eating too much of these can lead to the breakdown of red blood cells and cause hospitalization or the need for blood transfusions.
> Chocolate - Most people know chocolate while delicious, is toxic to dogs.
> Gravy - Gravy usually will contain onion or garlic and as mentioned those are toxic to dogs, along with the likely high salt content of gravy makes this a no-no to share.
> Cranberry Sauce/Juice - Cranberry sauce/juice typically have a high sugar content already.
> Stuffing - Much like the gravy explanation, stuffing usually contains garlic/onions. Some stuffing contains raisins which makes it not a good idea to mix in stuffing with your dog's meal.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR DOG ACCIDENTALLY EATS WHAT IS ON THE DO NOT FEED LIST?
If you are unsure what or how much your dog ate, contact your local veterinary hospital right away. Other factors come in to play like size of the dog and amount of food ingested, so if you know how much or the type of food the dog ate you may need to keep a close eye on the dog and monitor for severe symptoms. Keep this phone number handy and hope you never have to use it: Pet Poison Helpline at (855)-764-7661
Wishing you and your pets a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!