Here are some guidelines for keeping your pet safe on Thanksgiving:
- Any pet on a prescription diet or special food due to chronic health problems should only get treats approved by a veterinarian.
- Don’t let your pets beg – that way you can regulate what treats they get. Controlling the behavior of your human visitors may be harder than controlling your pets!
- Avoid very rich or sweet foods like the cranberry sauce and pie.
- Most pets can handle a teaspoon (for small dogs and cats) or a tablespoon (for bigger dogs) of plain mashed potatoes mixed in with their normal food.
- Skip the stuffing – it often contains gluten and onions.
- Most families will boil the giblets (heart, liver, gizzard and neck) of the turkey. After thorough cooking, remove the meat from the neck and chop up the organs into small pieces. Most dogs and cats enjoy this as a treat. Again, one teaspoon for cats and small dogs and one tablespoon for bigger dogs.
- A few small pieces of turkey meat is typically a safe treat. Remember, too much of a good thing can lead to stomach and intestinal upsets.
- Do not feed your pets the meat trimmings (i.e. fat and skin).
- You may want to put some turkey meat into a dehydrator and make your own turkey jerky for your pets.
- Avoid gravy and sauces on your pets’ food or treats because of the high sodium content.
If your pet manages to sneak too many treats, digestive aids for pets and probiotics can help deal with minor stomach and intestinal upset.