According to PetMD, high-calorie, high-fat foods including poultry skin, gravy and dressing may lead to a potentially fatal disease in pets called pancreatitis, which causes severe abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Cases of the disease range from relatively mild to severe, but all require hospitalization.
Dogs with pancreatitis may have a tucked-up belly and assume a prayer position, according to WebMD. Abdominal pain is caused by the release of digestive enzymes into the pancreas and surrounding tissue, causing the dog to experience diarrhea, dehydration, weakness, and possibly shock, the website reports.
A single bout of pancreatitis may kill your pet within hours or leave your pet diabetic and needing to take special enzymes the rest of its life to digest food.
Even healthier holiday fare may contain foods toxic to pets, such as onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, chocolate, and sugar substitutes that contain xylitol, reports PetMD. Instead, PetMD recommends giving your pet, in moderation, white meat from the turkey without skin and fat; vegetables cooked without butter; seasoning or sauces such as sweet potatoes, carrots and beans; apple slices; raw carrots; and plain pumpkin from the can and not pie filling with added seasonings and sugar.
Pet owners also need to look out for foods that may become lodged in a pet’s throat or digestive tract. A corn cob may get lodged in a dog’s intestinal tract and cause a deadly obstruction. Or, turkey and chicken bones may splinter and become embedded in the animal’s digestive tract. While bones are common for pets to chew on, the cooking process makes poultry bones more likely to splinter and cause harm, sometimes even requiring surgical removal, reports PetMD.
To avoid spending your holiday with the veterinarian, you may want to consider keeping your pet outside while food is being served or at least keep all food out of your pet’s reach while preparing meals and serving them. Once meal time is over, mischevious pets may be tempted to rip into the garbage. Keeping the garbage in places inaccessible to pets and clearing all leftovers may be necessary to prevent accidental poisoning.
Also, make sure your relatives and friends know not to feed your pet any foods without your approval.
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