As the holiday season kicks into high gear, so do the associated hazards for pets. While your furry pal hopefully made it through Halloween unscathed, their next hurdle is Thanksgiving, packed with delicious, yet dangerous, foods. Check out the following most common emergencies pets experience on Thanksgiving and how to prevent them.

#1: Gastrointestinal obstructions in pets

Since they don’t have hands, pets explore the world with their mouths, which can get them into trouble when they investigate your Thanksgiving decorations. Cornucopias, corn stalks, gourds, candles, and lights can pose a threat to your furry pal if nibbled on and swallowed. Lighted candles may be knocked over and start a fire, while light strands can create an electrical burn if chewed. 

In addition to inedible items, several tasty Thanksgiving treats may prove too tempting for your pet to resist, including turkey bones and nuts baked into pies. If your pet eats something indigestible, they could suffer from a gastrointestinal obstruction. Although sharing your Thanksgiving turkey may seem like a giving thing this holiday, the cooked turkey leg bones can splinter and pierce your pet’s gums, esophagus, stomach, or intestinal tract. The shards can become lodged, as can any other difficult-to-digest items, such as pie nuts and decorations. For pets too curious for their own good, ensure you place all decor and foods well out of paws’ reach for their safety.

#2: Pancreatitis in pets

With all the delicious foods gracing a Thanksgiving feast, pancreatitis is an incredibly common occurrence in pets after this holiday. Savory comfort foods loaded with butter, oil, and fat are difficult for pets to digest, as their bodies do not metabolize fat well. So, when your furry pal is begging for a helping of buttery mashed potatoes dripping in rich gravy, turn a blind eye to their drooling face, and drop them a raw carrot chunk instead. 

Another major pancreatitis instigator is the star of the show, the Thanksgiving turkey. The bird’s skin, fat, and dark meat can cause your four-legged friend severe pancreatic inflammation, which can be life-threatening. Pancreatitis signs in pets include:

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Inappetence
  • Abdominal pain

Avoid a pancreatitis episode in your pet this Thanksgiving by offering only small bites of fresh veggies, skinless turkey breast or, better yet, commercially produced pet treats.

#3: Food toxicities in pets

The holiday known for glorious feasts is also notorious for food toxicities in pets. With the wide array of dishes overwhelming your table, your furry pal has many opportunities to eat— toxic food. The most common Thanksgiving food toxicities encountered by pets include:

  • Chocolate — Theobromine and caffeine, two methylxanthines found in chocolate, act as toxic stimulants for pets. While your pet will likely be fine if they eat a snack-size white chocolate bar, a similarly sized square of baker’s chocolate may be deadly. Keep in mind that the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous to your pet’s health.
  • Xylitol — This sweet substance is a popular sugar substitute in candies, desserts, and gum. If you’re swapping out sugar in your dessert recipes to save on calories, keep this deadly baking ingredient well out of your pet’s reach. Known for causing a drastic drop in blood sugar, xylitol can also lead to acute liver failure.
  • Uncooked yeast dough — Rolls and other breads are a Thanksgiving staple, but if you’re making yeast rolls from scratch, keep your four-legged friend out of the kitchen. Raw yeast dough can lead to bloat and alcohol poisoning in pets, as the uncooked yeast ferments in their stomachs and releases gases. 
  • Onions, garlic, scallions, and chives — These ingredients add spice to your dishes, but they can take a serious toll on your pet’s red blood cells. Capable of massive red blood cell destruction, eating onions, garlic, scallions, and chives can cause anemia, whether they’re raw, dried, or cooked.

#4: Injuries in pets

One of the most common holiday season injuries is the result of a door left open. Amid the hubbub surrounding the front door as your loved ones enter and leave, your sly pet may suddenly sneak out. Traffic is busier over the holiday season, and with the potential for inclement weather here in Spokane, there is a greater car accident risk if your pet darts into oncoming traffic. If the unthinkable happens, and a vehicle hits your beloved companion, perform first aid care before rushing to our animal emergency hospital. 

While collar ID tags and a microchip won’t prevent your pet from door-dashing, they can guide them back to you if they escape. Ensure your contact information is legible and current across the board to provide multiple opportunities for a Good Samaritan to return your pet. 

Don’t let an emergency ruin your Thanksgiving festivities. Keep your furry pal safe from the most common holiday hazards by planning ahead, but, if your pet gets into trouble, our Pet Emergency Clinic and Referral Center is here for you—give us a call for help.