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The Thanksgiving Threat: Keep Your Pets Safe

Don't let Fido become a Turkey Day casualty—read these tips and tricks from metro area vets.

Thanksgiving is not necessarily kind to man's best friend, or so it would seem. South metro vets report that their offices see a surge in pet-related emergencies over the holiday. 

“Many of (of these emergencies) are avoidable,” said Dr. Annie Wright, a board certified specialist in veterinary emergency & critical care medicine at BluePearl in Blaine and Eden Prairie. “While we don’t want to see any emergencies that are preventable, if people do notice their pet exhibiting unusual behavior, we would urge them to get the pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible.”

Most common are gastrointestinal troubles caused by typical Thanksgiving fare, which can result in vomiting, diarrhea, or worse. In blog post on Burnsville Patch, vet Dr. Stephen Skilling says that an overindulgent meal can easily become a life-threatening illness like pancreatitis (inflamation of the pancreas) or hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines that produces vomiting and bloody diarrhea).

Animal ERs also see an increase in animals being struck by vehicles.

To avoid a Turkey Day tragedy, the vets offered the following advice:

  • Seal garbage bags tight and put them in a covered container to keep your pets from getting into something dangerous.
  • Do not feed the animals turkey bones, chicken bones and ham bones, which can splinter and cause internal damage.
  • Don't risk leftovers on your pets. Keep them on their normal diets. Many ingredients that go down easy in humans are hazardous for animals: Onions, garlic, chocolate, raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, sugar substitutes like xylitol, and raw or undercooked food can hurt pets.
  • Fatty foods can kick off a bout of pancreatitis in companion animals.
  • Make sure pets are safe inside as visitors arrive and depart. Often doors left ajar result in pets getting hit by a car.
  • Food stuffs aren't the only hazard. Poinsettias are also toxic to pets.

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