Turkey Day is On the Way! Holiday Cautions for Your Beloved Pets!

By Dr. Doug Pernikoff

Clarkson Wilson Veterinary Clinic


November houses Turkey Day, and that means tons of great foods, lots of family love and more.   Many of our pet health concerns around Thanksgiving have to do with all those scrumptious table goodies getting into the mouths of our non-discriminating pet gourmets.

Generally speaking, any introduced and thereby, unfamiliar foods can pose real problems for our dogs and cats.  Any item unusually fatty in nature can encourage an acute onset of pancreatitis; an inflammatory condition affecting the pancreas, the organ making our enzymes for digestion in our small intestines.  In the face of inflammation, the pancreas will leak these digestive enzymes, which create havoc to the tissues in surrounding them.  The result may be very aggressive and persistent vomiting and diarrhea.  Animals can become very ill, very quickly, and even create a true emergency condition.  The best solution is good prevention of this issue and other conditions mentioned herein.  Keep table foods off the floor and make sure to secure the trash bins.

Turkey bones are a great favorite of our pets.  However, they can splinter, or be swallowed in large enough fragments to choke your pet, or lodge somewhere along the bowel tract and create an obstruction.  These conditions will run up major costs at the emergency clinic and can also prove life concerning in some conditions.

And, do not forget that tasty dessert table.  Chocolates are particularly dangerous, creating a toxicity for dogs due to a compound they contain called theobromine.  Dark chocolates and cooking chocolate are typically most concerning, but even lighter, sweet chocolate can prove to be problematic.  Chocolate toxicity in dogs can also be a potential killer for your dogs, due to this compound that is much like caffeine, directly affecting the dog’s heart.  NO CHOCOLATE is the rule.

Finally, I always have to alert pet owners to the issue of BLOAT!.  This occurs in medium to large sized breeds most commonly.  The stomach can swell with fluids from over drinking; or, by eating foodstuffs that create excessive gas accumulation.  The stomach can twist on its axis, dragging the spleen right along, eventually shutting off the blood supply to those very critical organs.  Dogs will either try to vomit without success, or pace uncomfortably.  You may note obvious swelling of the abdomen, especially beyond the rib cage.  This is a very true emergency and must be treated very quickly and very proactively.  If you have a large breed dog and you see any sort of abnormal behaviors as we described above, then I strongly encourage you to contact your vet or take a visit to the emergency clinic.  Better safe than sorry!!!Have a wonderful and love-filled Thanksgiving Holiday!

All our love and friendship, Dr. Doug Pernikoff & Staff of the Clarkson-Wilson Veterinary Clinic.