Dog Articles - Canine Safety on Thanksgiving

Canine Safety on Thanksgiving

The garbage left behind when Thanksgiving cooking is finished smells like a tasty treat to your dog. Trash like skewers, string, pop-up timers, roasting bags, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, wax paper can be ingested by your dog and cause abdominal pain and intestinal blockage. Make sure trash can lids are securely closed or, even better, all cooking trash that could tempt your pooch is placed in an outside trash can with a tightly-closed lid.

Poultry (chicken, turkey, goose, etc.) bones crack and splinter easily, which can cause a sharp bone fragment to choke the dog, or tear or block the intestines. Symptoms of a logged bone include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and depression. Sometimes a lodged bone requires expensive surgical removal. Do not feed poultry bones to your dog.

Change in Diet
Lots of people want to prepare a special feast for their dogs on Thanksgiving. The problem with this idea is that dogs are used to eating the same food every day. Suddenly changing a dog’s diet can result in stress, stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting. Instead, try mixing a few pieces of white meat turkey and some veggie chunks in with his daily kibble for a special Turkey Day treat. Mix in a little warm water for an extra-special and tasty meal.

Fatty Foods
Foods with a high fat content can cause pancreatitis, is characterized by the leaking of enzymes from the pancreas, which then damage the pancreas and other surrounding tissues. Symptoms of pancreatitis include severe vomiting, diarrhea which may contain blood, weakness, pain, restlessness, crying, irritability, reluctance to walk, and loss of appetite. Pancreatitis can cause shock, liver or kidney damage, heart arrhythmias and blood clotting disorders. This means if owners absolutely must feed the pooch table scraps, they should skip the turkey skin pieces or gravy and, instead, feed pooches a couple pieces of white meat turkey or some veggie chunks as snacks.

Other No, No’s
Read this list of foods that are unsafe for your dog, and make sure everyone in your home understands that they are not to be fed to Fido. Better yet, ask your guests not to feed any people food to your dog so you don’t have to worry about it at all. Keep an extra eye on children who might want to sneak stacks to the dog despite directions to the contrary. Also remember that although you may understand that foods like onions are bad for your dog, and you would never offer him an actually onion, onions might be chopped up in a dish and then forgotten, or onion powder might be added—avoid these dangerous foods in any amount by avoiding table scraps altogether.

Clean Counters
Protect your dog from fatty foods, off-limits foods, and other dangers by making sure your dog isn’t anywhere near the kitchen unsupervised until the counters are cleaned off. A turkey carcass on the counter and a dog loose in the house can result in a catastrophe.

Regular Eating Schedule
Changing when your dog eats can result in health issues and even behavior problems. There is a lot of hubbub around the holidays and a ton of change (decorations, guests, different smells and sounds, different schedules), which can stress out your dog. Feeding your dog at the same time every day is one little thing you can do to help him feel more comfortable.

Regular Exercise Schedule
For the same reason one shouldn’t change a dog’s eating schedule, one should maintain a regular exercise schedule for the dog as well. If a dog is used to getting walked every morning before his owner goes to work, and then every evening when he gets home there’s going to be a problem when this doesn’t happen. The dog will have pent up energy that could result in anxiety, destructive behavior, housetraining problems, and other behavior issues. If anything, a dog should be exercised more this time of year. This will give the dog something to focus on other than the chaos of the holidays, and will allow him to redirect any anxiety into his exercise.

Safe Zone
Especially if you are having guests over for Thanksgiving, make sure your dog has a safe, quiet place to relax if he wants to get away from the festivities. If your dog is crate trained, place his crate in a low-traffic area of the house with a cozy blanket, crate mat, or bed inside, as well as some familiar toys. If your dog isn’t crate trained, but is trustworthy around the house, leave the door open to one room, and put your dog’s bed and some familiar toys in the room. Ask your guests and children to stay out of the room so that your dog has a private, quiet place to relax.

ID Tags
With guests coming in and out of the house, there is always the chance your dog can escape through an open door. Make sure your current address and phone number are clearly printed on his ID tag just in case. Also, consider having your dog microchipped.

Other Treats
Help distract your dog from begging and other behavior problems with a fun new toy. Try a Kong toy or Buster ball. Either of these toys can be stuffed with treats to make them more captivating and engaging for your pooch. A Kong toy stuffed with kibble and peanut butter and then frozen can be a delight for your dog and keep him occupied for hours on end.

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