Westbury Animal Hospital
713.723.3666 · 4917 S. Willow Dr. Houston, Texas 77035 

Annie's Shenanigans

Thanksgiving Safety

Friday, November 21, 2014

Reviving a wonderful article by Dr. Chalkley for Thanksgiving advice this next week!

Thanksgiving Holiday: Food Safety for Your Cat and Dog

by: Jeff Chalkley

Around the Thanksgiving Holiday most of the emergencies that are seen at Westbury Animal Hospital are associated with food and pets.  Eating too much food, eating food in the trash can, or eating the wrong type of food – any one of these incidents could cause vomiting, diarrhea, or even more serious diseases (e.g. Pancreatitis).

I remember four (4) years ago I was on call for Thanksgiving when a black Labrador named “Bella” came in Thanksgiving night. Bella’s family was just sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner when they realized the basket of dinner rolls was left in the kitchen.  Much to their surprise when they entered the kitchen, the rolls were missing.  This otherwise sweet eight year old lab had counter surfed and found an amazing treasure, 24 dinner rolls. Within minutes the dinner rolls started expanding in poor Bella’s stomach.  She became so uncomfortable and painful that the Thanksgiving meal had to be canceled for the family. Bella was rushed to Westbury Animal Hospital for treatment, where within 24 hours she had made a full recovery. The family was so happy that she had recovered that they planned a celebratory dinner for Saturday night with a few of the people who had been at their house for Thursday night’s dinner.  Thankfully it was a smaller number of people because Bella struck again. This time only 12 dinner rolls, not the 24 she had eaten only two (2) days earlier.

Even the most unsuspecting food item can cause serious trouble for your cat or dog. We have included a list of food items to be careful with this coming Thanksgiving.

Turkey – A little nibble of turkey is fine for your cat or dog, but you should make sure it’s free of bones, that it is fully cooked, and it is white (breast) meat. White meat is less greasy and usually tolerated better by cats or dogs.  If you do give them turkey, make sure they don’t overindulge and run the risk of getting an upset stomach. Most of the other table scraps from the big feast are not a good idea for your cat or dog.

Alcohol – If you have a cat that likes to sneak a sip of people’s drinks, make sure you keep drinks with alcohol out of their reach. Many things can go wrong if a pet consumes alcohol.

Batter with raw eggs – Raw eggs can put your cat or dog at risk for salmonella, which could cause food poisoning. So make sure they do not lick the spoon or bowl to help you clean up after cooking.

Bread dough – When cats or dogs eat raw bread dough, body heat can cause the dough to rise in their stomach. The rising can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, bloating and may require surgery.

Candy – Chocolate is toxic to all pets. Any candy containing xylitol (e.g. Sugar free gum) is also dangerous for cats and dogs to ingest.

Onions and garlic – Both onions and garlic are popular ingredients in some holiday dishes and both can be toxic to cats.

Raisins, grapes and macadamia nuts – All three of these items are nice additions to holiday recipes but should be kept out of reach for cats and dogs as they can be toxic.

Rich and spicy foods – Rich and spicy foods may be a great treat for you, but they are not a good option for your pets and can cause more than an upset stomach. Stick with your pet’s regular meal options.

Sage –Sage and other herbs that contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset if eaten in large quantities.

Make this holiday season special, and try to avoid a trip to the emergency room at Westbury Animal Hospital. Have a safe Thanksgiving Holiday.


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