The Only Locally-Owned Emergency and Specialty Hospital in Minnesota

3 Tips For Keeping Your Pet Safe This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time when we are surrounded by family, friends and delicious foods. Unfortunately, this can be a dangerous time for your pet.  Here are some tips to help you avoid an emergency trip to the veterinarian this Thanksgiving.

1. Keep pets confined to a separate room or kennel.  This avoids an escape when guests are coming and going from your home and keeps pets out of the kitchen where they may get stepped on and injured.

2. Avoid sharing table scraps with your pet.  Many Thanksgiving foods are dangerous for your pet. Here are some common examples: 

  • Fatty table scraps (gravy, turkey skin, etc) can cause abdominal pain, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea and pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).
  • Bones can irritate or become lodged in the stomach, intestines or colon. This can become a life-threatening, surgical emergency.
  • Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure. Symptoms such as anorexia, vomiting and lethargy can take days to develop. By this time the damage to these vital organs has already happened.
  • Chocolate contains toxins that cause vomiting, diarrhea, agitation, tremors, seizures and possibly life-threatening heart conditions.  It is especially important to watch out for baking chocolate, dark chocolate and milk chocolate.
  • Onions, leeks, chives, and garlic can cause damage to red blood cells causing them to rupture.  This can result in anemia (low red blood cell count) and can take days to develop.
  • Xylitol is a sugar substitute that causes a dangerously low blood sugar in dogs. It can also cause liver failure. This product is commonly found in baked goods, gums, mints and a variety of other products. Make sure to check the product label if your pet eats anything unusual.
  • Uncooked yeast bread dough will rise once in your pet’s warm stomach. This causes painful abdominal bloating and can result in a life-threatening condition where the stomach twists.
  • Mushrooms can cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors and seizures.
  • Nuts (especially macadamia nuts and walnuts) have been shown to cause weakness, muscle spasms and seizures.
  • Alcohol – our pets are much more sensitive to alcohol than we are.  These drinks can quickly cause confusion, difficulty walking, depression, low blood sugar, slowed breathing and coma.

3. Empty the trash.  In the days following Thanksgiving, veterinarians frequently see dogs that have gotten into the garbage. “Garbage gut” often causes abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and sometimes pancreatitis (painful swelling of the pancreas).  Items dogs eat out of the garbage can also cause an obstruction of the stomach or intestines that may require surgery for removal. As the days pass, the food in the garbage becomes moldy. Eating moldy food can cause muscle tremors, seizures and death.

We hope that you consider these recommendations and have a safe Thanksgiving with your family, friends and pets. If your pet does experience an emergency and your regular veterinarian is not available, both our Oakdale and St. Paul clinics are open 24/7.

For further information please visit the following websites:
Pet Health Network


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