The time period surrounding Thanksgiving is typically filled with a variety of homemade dishes and desserts. This holiday is a lovely occasion to spend quality time and eat delicious foods with your neighbors, friends, and family. However, it’s important to remember that many households will also be hosting family pets and that this can be a very easy time for these animals to get into food items that they shouldn’t. It is important to recognize the food at Thanksgiving dinner that may be harmful to your pet’s health.
Thanksgiving brings with it many delicious homemade breads and desserts. However, baking items that contain uncooked baker’s yeast can be a potential health hazard for your pet. During the holidays, animals have been known to sneak a few tasty treats off the counter before these products have been cooked. Possible baking items that can contain baking yeast include unbaked bread, pizza dough, buns, rolls, and certain types of cake. Most routine breads and rolls that you can purchase in the refrigerator section at grocery stores do not contain yeast and are not a potential health risk for your household pets, however, those found in the freezer section and need to rise before baking, are a high risk. Consumption of uncooked baker’s yeast can lead to gas bloat, stomach distention, vocalization, behavior changes, urinary incontinence, uncoordinated movements, an inability to rise, or pets may even become comatose. Treatment greatly depends on the clinical signs being exhibited by the animal, but can include inducing vomiting, IV fluid therapy, gastrointestinal support, respiratory support, and possible surgery to remove remaining dough from the stomach.
Raisins, grapes, currants, and sultanas are all popular items to add in Thanksgiving dishes. Dogs are particularly sensitive to these foods and it is currently unknown the exact consumption amount needed for toxicity to occur, thus it is important to take consumption of these products seriously no matter the amount your animal may have received. Clinical signs often associated with consumption include persistent vomiting, anorexia, lethargy, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and kidney failure. Treatment involves decontamination via induced vomiting, fluid therapy, and supportive care provided by a veterinarian.
One of the most common additions to Thanksgiving foods are onions, garlic, chives, and scallions. These foods greatly improve flavor and are an obvious choice for adding to Thanksgiving casseroles, soups, meat flavoring, mashed or scalloped potatoes, and many other dishes. However, these foods can be very dangerous for animal consumption. If consumed by an animal, clinical signs often include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, pale mucus membranes, icterus, and increased heart rate. It is often recommended that a blood work panel is performed to assess the patient’s health status so that a veterinarian can choose the best treatment methods for your pet. Possible treatments include inducing vomiting, fluid therapy, gastrointestinal support, and supportive care provided by a veterinarian.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday to indulge in a variety of different foods and festivities, but it is important to be aware of the food types that could be accessible to your pet. Some ways to reduce the risk of an unfortunate food consumption event are keeping all holiday foods out of reach of any animals, keeping animals on a leash during the holidays for better control, and being able to identify the foods being served at Thanksgiving dinner. If your pet does come into contact with one of these foods, take action immediately. Contact a veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline® at 1-800-213-6680.