The holidays are upon us, and this fact has many of us jumping for joy. The turkey, stuffing, casseroles and desserts are enough, but add in all the other holiday indulgences and it’s easy to see why so many of us overdo it, and pay for it later. 

For our pets, though, such overindulgence in fatty and rich holiday foods can spell disaster. Every holiday season, pets are seen like clockwork in the animal emergency clinic for pancreatitis, a painful and life threatening condition often caused by the consumption of such foods. 

Avoid a pet emergency this holiday season by learning about pancreatitis in pets and holiday food safety. 

Food Safety

Many of our delicious and traditional holiday foods are toxic to pets, and accidental pet poisonings are unfortunately common during the holiday season. Keep the following food items away from your pet. 

  • Chocolate
  • Xylitol
  • Yeasted raw bread dough
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Alcohol
  • Chives, onions, and garlic
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Raw poultry or meat
  • Sage and other herbs

Sometimes our pets’ love of eating can also get them into trouble when they ingest something that causes an intestinal obstruction. Corn cobs, bones, aluminum foil, turkey string, and wrappers are common items ingested by pets that can result in an emergency surgery to remove. Remove temptation by clearing leftovers right away, keeping garbage bins tightly lidded and behind closed doors, and by resisting the urge to share fatty or rich foods with your pet. 

Pancreatitis Basics

You may regret overindulging in pumpkin pie or casseroles, but for pets, eating even a bite or two of fatty or rich foods can be truly dangerous. Pets don’t digest rich foods well, and the result can be gastrointestinal upset and a potentially life threatening condition called pancreatitis.

If your pet is exhibiting any of the following signs of pancreatitis, she needs to be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Hunched position
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Difficulty breathing

Holiday Food Safety For Pets

Thanksgiving may pose some risks for our pets, but that doesn’t mean our pets can’t join us in some of the holiday fun. They can even enjoy a few extras this time of year, without the added salt, sugar or fat. 

If you’d like to treat your pet and still practice holiday food safety for pets, try steamed green beans instead of green bean casserole, plain cooked sweet potato instead of candied yams, and a scoop of plain pumpkin instead of pumpkin pie. 

And, remember that not all treats are food! Indulge your pet in play and exercise instead, which is a great way to relieve stress, burn extra calories, and is great for bonding with your pet. Treat your pet to a neighborhood walk, or a game of ball or laser pointer tag when the big meal is over. You can also show your pet how thankful you are for them with lots of snuggles and affection. 

If you have any questions about holiday food safety for pets or pancreatitis, please don’t hesitate to call us. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your pets from Shiloh Veterinary Hospital