One of the biggest parts of Thanksgiving is the food, and it can be tempting to give in to your dog begging for a piece of turkey or spoonful of potatoes during dinner, but a local veterinarian said just one bite could be dangerous.
"They're total scavengers. They're hunting. And yeah, they've already got it before you drop it," Dr. Thomas Jackson, who owns Advanced Veterinary in Bonita Springs, said.
He said he knows the puppy-dog eyes are tough to resist, but if you don't it could turn your holiday into a disaster. First, Dr. Jackson said we need to realize the amount of calories in the food we're giving them.
"Something the size of two matchsticks is the size of two hands to us. So those are huge. I'll stretch my stomach out and eat a ton, but for them, it hurts," Dr. Jackson said.
Aside from calories, he said pets have a hard time digesting foods with a lot of fat.
"Pancreatitis is huge, and it's mostly from fats and fats are hidden," he said. "It can go as far as 'It just was one spoon of mashed potatoes! How did it... it's just a carbohydrate?' Then Grandma raises her hand said 'I've got the gizzard and that lard in the mashed potatoes,' and then all of a sudden we run into six units of plasma were needed, and a simple pancreatitis could have been avoided."
Dr. Jackson said pancreatitis is probably the most common issue for pets around the holidays, but spices and foods like garlic can lead to other health problems.
"Yeah, they make things taste great. But little bit of garlic can cause irreversible anemia, and then your blood cells forget that they’re good things, and the body gets a little twisted, and you start attacking your own blood cells," he warned.
He said to also avoid giving pets grapes, raisins, or wine.
"They're kidney killers. They really wreak havoc on those kidneys," Dr. Jackson said. "I actually saw somebody recently, and we don't know whether they were fed 20 Advil or one grape."
So when your pet is tugging on your heart strings, begging for some Thanksgiving dinner, Dr. Jackson said to remember how much pain it could cause.
"These are painful, very, very uncomfortable things. And fur-babies and fur family members, they need to be watched out for. And it's up to us humans to help them," he said.
After your meal, make sure to not leave out any food or plates, and take the trash out as soon as possible to eliminate any possibilities your pet could get into any food.