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On Thanksgiving, Be Thankful and Provide a Feast Best Suited for Pets:

As pet owners head into the season of special gatherings, celebrations and holiday tidings, the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) reminds pet owners to protect their pets.

It is almost impossible for most family members to sit and wait through the wonderful aromas of a special holiday feast being prepared. We will wander into the kitchen, with the intent to provide help to the cook, and maybe be available… to make sure there is not too much wine in the gravy! This is true for our four-legged family members as well! They too are wanting to sample a scrap in the kitchen, or partake in an unusual treat from the coffee table. As our pets stand ready and prepared to lunge at any opportunity for food or strange foreign object, as pet owners we must be vigilant and protect our pets from their natural tendencies..

Pets ingesting rich and fatty foods, chocolates, or other unsuitable or unintended items, can create a thankless holiday visiting the veterinary emergency hospital.

As pet owners, we need to provide extra care and attention to our pets during this time of year, according to Dr. Ingmire, (of Mokena Animal Clinic, near Chicago). “It is important to plan and consider our pets as we head into the holiday season. Our pets are certainly aware of this special time of the year and want to be a part of all of the celebrations. Without consideration of our pets, trouble and mischief can ensue. Even a well-behaved pet that feels slighted or confined during festivities may get into trouble that normally would not happen during other times of the year.” According to Dr. Ingmire.

Pet owners need to be mindful of the following:

• Do not provide any forms of chocolate

• Do not provide table scraps or foods not specifically prepared for our pets

• Secure or remove garbage and food scraps from the kitchen before sitting down to dine

• Adjust your pets’ feeding time to occur as you are serving dinner for special occasions and add a special pet treat as part of the pet meal

• Plan and provide short periods of special one-on-one time for walks and just providing focused attention during special occasions

Our pets will adjust better to the additional activities taking place in the home, if a little bit of special attention is provided.

“Providing rich human foods is just a bad idea and it can cause pancreatitis and general internal illness. Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, and it can be life threatening. When a pet is diagnosed as having pancreatitis, he/she becomes more susceptible to developing it again so you want to avoid your pet ever having it. The best way to protect our pets so they can enjoy a healthy and happy life is to avoid feeding human foods. If your pet becomes ill with bloody vomit and diarrhea after consuming turkey or ham or getting into the garbage, take your pet to your veterinarian immediately,” continued Dr. Ingmire.

Other cautionary “tails” to share during holidays include avoiding poinsettias and tinsel, especially with cats in the house. Dogs can become ill after consuming Christmas tree standing water, though generally not life threatening. On the other hand, there are many positive examples of great things pet owners can do to correctly spoil their pets. Provide a special holiday trip to the groomer or provide a nice shampoo wash and dry at home. Hang a stocking with correct treats and toys. A new toy with a bit of Catnip is okay for our feline friends. Just remember, pets are aware it is a special time of the year and all of the festivities can cause our pets to get into mischief and potential painful trouble. Also check with your veterinarian for the preferred 24 hour emergency pet hospital in your area for care after hours and have the phone number with your other important emergency information.

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