Holiday Dinners are not good for your pets! 

Holiday turkey dinner

by Dr. Lance Weidenbaum and Dr. Michael Shaff

At Deer Run Animal Hospital we treat pets like people, but there are times when this can be harmful to your dog or cat.  

The winter holiday season is one of those times. While it is extremely tempting to share your beautiful holiday dinner with your pets, doing so may result in an emergency visit to our office, or even permanent harm to your faithful companion.  If you want to make your pet feel like he or she is part of the celebration, give them a little extra serving of their own food. 

Here are some good reasons not to share your dinner with your pets:

Too rich and salty: Many turkeys are injected with oils, flavorings and salty brines to make them juicy and flavorful. The level of salt in these turkeys is difficult for your pet to process, and the amount of fats can make your pet ill. Ham is highly salted, as are other holiday meats. 

Some foods are poisonous to pets: Onions and shallots, garlic, grapes, raisins, and some spices (especially nutmeg) are poisonous to dogs and cats and can cause red blood cell damage, liver and kidney damage or failure, or other conditions. Symptoms may not show up for several days after ingestion. 

Cooked bones splinter: Every dog would love to have a turkey carcass or ham bone to chew on, but cooked bones break into sharp, dangerous splinters that can cut your pet's mouth or puncture their stomach or intestines, leading to emergency surgery. 

Many pets are allergic/sensitive to wheat, milk, corn: Dogs of all kinds can have food sensitivities, and most who do are sensitive to wheat, milk, or corn products. If your dog is on a special diet, Thanksgiving food may set off his/her allergies or sensitivities, causing skin and digestive problems. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they cannot effectively digest grains and plant products. Rich turkey gravy is usually made with wheat flour that can make your cat ill.  And as much as most pets love milk, cow's milk is difficult for their systems to break down. Save your pets from the discomfort of indigestible food, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin rashes.

Some desserts are poisonous to pets: Chocolate is poisonous to both dogs and cats and only small amounts can cause severe internal organ damage or kill your pet.  All sweets made with Xylitol are extremely toxic to dogs. Xylitol is used to make gum, low-sugar candies, and sweet foods for those with diabetes. Only small amounts are needed to cause your dogs to go into seizure, coma and death, often within 30 minutes. 

What to do in an emergency:

  • We are closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day, but these emergency services will be open:
  • Animal Poison Control Center – The ASPCA offers a 24/7/365 poison control service for pet owners. There is a $65 consultation fee. Call 888-426-4435. 
  • Pet Emergency Center  – In case of an after hours emergency, please call 954-722-0420. Click the link for driving directions and more information.
  • If your pet shows symptoms such as vomiting, seizures, coma, difficulty breathing, fever, or similar conditions, please seek medical attention.

Please call us any time if you have any questions about your pet's health and happiness.  

Happy Holidays from all of us at Deer Run Animal Hospital! 

Photo credit: barron / / CC BY-NC-SA

Phone: 954-421-2244   Serving Deerfield Beach, Coconut Creek, and Boca Raton from our offices at Hillsboro Blvd and  Powerline Road in the Dunkin' Donuts plaza.    © Deer Run Animal Hospital 2019