Thanksgiving from a Veterinarian’s Perspective
By Dr. Jess Kleiner, DVM
We are coming up on the holiday season! I love seeing posts on social media of families including their fur babies in holiday traditions…but sometimes I cringe at happy moments that might cause a problem for a pet. We all want to safely include our pets as much as possible in our lives so here’s a few thoughts to help guide you through the upcoming holidays!
First, my disclaimer is that these are general recommendations and your pet’s veterinarian always overrides any thoughts here. There are very few universally true recommendations that apply to every single pet so if your veterinarian has directed you to do something different than what I say here – please listen to them! I have not read every pet’s medical history nor done a physical exam on every animal on the planet. Your veterinarian knows you, your pet, your home, and your lifestyle better than anyone you’ll find on the internet.
Let’s start with the boring stuff: things you should avoid and warnings. Please do not feed your pet the fattiest part of the meal like skin, drippings, or fat trimmings. Most pets cannot handle these rich treats and eating them can lead to stomach upset or pancreatitis.
Also avoid feeding your pet onions, grapes, chocolate, and garlic as these common ingredients are toxic.
The final warning here is to be very aware of how much you are feeding your pet. I often use this example in my own exam rooms: I have a 15 lb dog and I weigh about 150 lbs. Every time I feed my pup a single egg, I need to imagine sitting down and eating 15 eggs to understand just how much I’ve fed her. It is extremely easy to overfeed the tiny ones and what seems like a tiny portion to us can cause huge upset in our pets.
Now the fun stuff! Let’s talk about how to include your kitty or puppy in holiday traditions!
If you have a large family that loves to spoil your pets, and just can’t say no to those big brown eyes, simply add a bowl of your pet’s dry food or pet treats to the food table at your event. Ask your guests to give them something from that bowl if they want to give them a treat. When the bowl is empty, the treats are done! The best part is that most pups and kitties think they really are getting a special treat from the table too! You could even bake some unspiced pumpkin bread to use as treats for them.
Here are some pumpkin treat recipes for pets from AKC: Pumpkin Dog Treat Recipes
For some after dinner fun, have a game to see who can get the best pose with the pup or the funniest picture of the cat. One of my favorite games is to match which pet looks the most like each family member…but don’t be offended if you get matched with the family’s goofy Boxer!
I would be terribly disappointed if I didn’t get to see some costumes, bandanas, or special poses of pets with a Thanksgiving theme!
Stop by with your pets in Thanksgiving attire at our East Hamilton or Harrison locations too! (And grab a cup of coffee for you and a treat for your pup!) Note: We are closed on Thanksgiving day.
In this season of giving thanks, we want to say how very grateful we are for all of our clients and their fur babies! Please have a fun and safe holiday!