Courtsey of NuVet
With the Thanksgiving hustle and bustle just a few days away, I wish you a healthy and happy time with friends and family. The last thing you need is to stress over your pet and the bounty of food around, so I thought providing a few general tips and reminders would be useful.
Acute pancreatitis is one of the leading causes of veterinary emergency hospital visits during the holidays. This life-threatening condition usually occurs from overfeeding companion pets particularly high fat foods.
Friends & Family
Please discourage well-meaning friends and family from feeding your pet from the table or anywhere else. I understand that you may do it now and again when they are not around. However, in this situation, you have no control over the amount or what is being fed to your pet.
Kids can be particularly “sneaky” in feeding pets foods, so I would reward them by promising that they can give your companion dog a small piece of skinless turkey, duck, goose or other food after dinner. The caveat with this, though, is only if your pet doesn’t have a food intolerance or other bowel condition like pancreatitis or diabetes that may result.
Symptoms include, but are not limited to:
· Increased heart rate
· Mild to severe abdominal pain (may become more severe after eating)
· Fatigue and sluggishness
· Loss of appetite
If it falls on the floor… I acknowledge that food scraps may fall on the floor or be thrown from a baby high chair and any opportunistic dog (or cat) will gleefully devour them. Again, I don’t want you to stress about it, but I want you to be aware if you should or should not scramble for the scrap and take it away.
Foods to Scramble for
· Macadamia nuts
Many of the nutritious foods provided during a Thanksgiving feast can safely be added wisely to the pet’s diet or used as treats. With Thanksgiving dishes, it is not the primary ingredient that is the problem, but often the way we cook them. Meaning: lots of butter, sugar and gravy. If you have raw ingredients leftover and you know you and your family will not finish them, you can make healthy treats or food toppers for your dog. Of course, bearing in mind the points discussed above.
Dehydrated cranberries are wonderful and long-lasting treats for your family and companion dogs. Please note, I am not referring to the prepackaged already dehydrated cranberries, which are full of unnecessary sugar. I am talking about making your own without the additional sweeteners.
Plain, canned pumpkin can be a great topper on dog food for its Vitamin A and carotenoids. Please ensure that it is literally plain with no added spices, sugars or other fillers. I would start off with ½ to 1 tablespoon per day.
Just like pumpkin, butternut squash is packed full of Vitamin A and carotenoids.
It always amazes me the bounty of food you can get from one butternut squash. Personally, I would cut it up and then freeze it. When needed, gently steam the pieces (plain) for 4-5 minutes, or bake them.
Apples & Pears
You can give raw, small pieces as treats. If you have too many, you can dehydrate them and then store in a cool, dry place.
Green Beans & Carrots
Your dog can have chopped green beans and carrots as raw treats in small amounts. To increase the bioavailability (digestibility), steam them for a few minutes.
If stored properly, potatoes can last a long time. Personally, I would avoid giving these to your companion pet due to their high glycemic index ranking.
Plain, steamed or baked sweet potatoes are nutritious in small amounts for your dog. However, sweet potatoes have approximately twice as many calories as pumpkin and butternut squash per serving. If your dog needs to shed a few pounds, I would avoid them.
Turkey, Duck or Goose
Honestly, I am fine with leftover small pieces of turkey, duck or goose so long as you do not include the fat, skin or gravy. [You’ll note that I’ve not suggested feeding ham as many are sugar-cured, have cloves imbedded, and are salty.]
Most importantly, never ever give your companion dog turkey or any other type of cooked bone