Avoid a House of Horrors Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving conjures warm family memories for many people but it can make a home into a house of horrors for pets.

Recently I read a complaint from a reader who said that during Thanksgiving last year a guest insisted on feeding her pet chips and dip with disastrous consequences for the pet.

When the hostess asked the visitor to refrain the guest said, “Oh, it won’t hurt your dog.”

But it DID hurt the pet because the became sick and it was the owners, not the guest, who had to deal with the gas and diarrhea.

The guest was blissfully ignorant of the drama she left behind her.

For some reason people think they can do what they want when it comes to pets at another household.

I know many households who are working to stop their dogs from jumping on guests. When the dogs jump on them the visitors tell them, “Oh it is okay.”

Uh, no it isn’t.

The rules of the household are just that–rules to be followed by guests.

Do what you want in your home and with your pets but not elsewhere. Behaving poorly with pets as a visitor is not good petiquette.

When guest actions might make a pet sick or endanger an animal my fantasy responses to their actions are,

Well, if you can’t abide by the household rules I’ll just have to ask you to leave.”

Or perhaps, “Okay, then my poor dog will have to be removed to protect his health.”

Or maybe, “I’ll send you the veterinary bill.”

I wonder what their response would be if someone said, “You idiot! How dare you endanger my pet and how the hell do you know what is ‘okay’ or not?”

Of course, most people are too polite to say such things or take such actions–but if your pet suffers after the holiday I hope you will reconsider your guest list or at least take steps to prepare for the holiday with some of the suggestions I outlined in the first post in this series.

No matter how pets are perceived, their bodies function differently than that of a human. Their gastrointestinal tracts are not equipped to handle the amount of fat that comes with drippings, stuffing, buttered mashed potatoes, or chips and dip.

Thanksgiving foods can result in diarrhea and vomiting which is why I recommended having acceptable treats (such as from the Kool Dog Cafe) placed around the home to help guests stick to a safer option and to satisfy the interested pets.

I mentioned this before, but common ingredients in a traditional Thanksgiving Day feast are toxic to pets.

  • Garlic and onions belong to the allium family and can cause a blood disorder. In sufficient amounts they can cause hemolytic anemia.
  • Raisins and grapes contain pet toxins that have been linked to kidney failure.
  • Theobromine, the active ingredient in chocolate, can cause heart complications and even seizures. The richer the chocolate, the more dangerous…and potentially lethal.
  • Bones from the turkey carcass or roast once consumed can fracture or splinter and cause an obstruction or even tear a pet’s gastrointestinal tract.

If your dog has an upset stomach check with your veterinarian but often giving the dog’s stomach a rest or serving up a bit of bland rice and cooked hamburger might help.

During the Thanksgiving Day Holiday is also important to keep a local veterinary emergency clinic phone number nearby.

Finally, here is the phone number for the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Hotline (888) 426-4435.

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