Don't Feed Your Dog Pie! And More Vet's Holiday Tips

By Amy Loeffler      

Smooth-as-silk gravy, candied yams swaddled in brown sugar and flaky pie crust may be some of your Holiday favorites, but they are not at all healthy for your canine companion. While it’s tempting to include the furry family members in Thanksgiving festivities by giving them nibbles of this and that, keep Fido fit and trim this Thanksgiving (and curb the begging and overindulging in the process) by keeping the human food on the table and out of Fido’s dog bowl.

Discourage Begging
On the day of holiday meals, feeding your pet at his regularly scheduled dinner hour is best. Ideally Fido's noshing will occur before lots of unfamiliar guests arrive to indulge in holiday dining, or during a lull in household activity. Lots of new guests and heightened activity in the house may be too much of a distraction for your pet to concentrate on his kibble. Once your pooch has supped put him outside for some playtime (hopefully some doggie cousins have come over as well). Also, establish a room or a space such as a dog crate where your pet can relax by himself and get away from the buzz of the holiday meal.

No Doggie Bags
"[People food] is well-intentioned, but it's a bad idea," says Kevin Fitzgerald of Denver-based VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital and Animal Planet's Emergency Vets. "A lot of these foods are not even digestible [by your pet]," he says. Foods to stay away from include anything with mayonnaise, and the aforementioned gravy and pumpkin pie. Gravy and pie dough may be tempting to Fido's palate, but these traditional holiday foods are especially high in fat. High fat foods can also cause pancreatitis, a potentially life threatening condition that causes the pancreas to become inflamed. Symptoms of pancreatitis include vomiting, abdominal pain, lack of appetite, depression, dehydration, and diarrhea.

Keep Trash Secure
Finally, if you have succeeded in keeping Rex well-behaved and healthy throughout the day, make sure he does not find his way into the holiday trash. "Dogs can gorge on leftovers," warns Dr. Fitzgerald. Unlike George Costanza, your pooch does not have a 5-second rule for food that has been in the garbage can. It’s all fair game. Trash can be especially dangerous however not only because of the fatty leftovers, but also because of bones. "Turkey bones are too brittle," he says and splinter just as badly as chicken bones. Sharp bones can obstruct the digestive track at any point from an airway passage to the stomach to intestines.

According to Dr. Fitzgerald if you really want to give your pets something they can be thankful for on this special day, "take 'em on an extra long walk. All they really want is your time. Spend quality time with them and it will come back to you in spades."