Is Turkey Safe for Cats and Dogs?

Even domesticated animals are still carnivores at heart. That means when the bird starts roasting this Thanksgiving, they’re likely to be in the kitchen begging for a sample. But is it a good idea?

While it may be tempting to share your cornucopia, rewarding those hungry eyes can be dangerous.
Whether Fido raids the trash or Scratchy steals directly from the kitchen counter, these Thanksgiving ingredients could prove harmful for pets.

Talking Turkey

Each year, millions of Google searches and calls to the vet will begin much the same way. “Is turkey poisonous to dogs and cats?” The short answer, no. Turkey is not inherently unsafe for pets.
Still, there are some parts of the Turkey that are dangerous.

Take turkey bones for example. Unlike bones found in the dog food aisle, poultry bones are known to splinter. This can create painful abrasions in the soft issues of the digestive tract. Others lodge themselves in the intestinal wall. When this happens, pups have to go under the knife to remove the blockage.

Softer parts of the turkey can also create gastrointestinal distress. Because turkey skin is loaded with fat, the richness of it and other greasy foods can lead to inflammation of the pancreas. Should it develop into pancreatitis, the results are often life-threatening.

Thanksgiving Foods Pets Should Avoid

Most owners have a general idea of foods that are toxic to household pets. Chocolate, grapes and anything in the onion family are top offenders. But even if a Thanksgiving dish isn’t expressly poisonous, that doesn’t mean you should feed it to them.

In fact, most vets discourage feeding your pet table scraps at all. It can lead to behavioral problems and is often linked to GI upset.

More specifically, steer your pet away from sweets, especially if they’re artificially flavored. Xylitol, a common artificial sweetener, can send your dog’s blood sugar plummeting or create liver complications.

Also, make sure that Spot and Fluffy can’t get their paws on any alcohol. Because of their low body weight, they can quickly suffer from alcohol poisoning. Keep in mind that yeast doughs can also lead to fermentation if consumed raw.

Smart and Safe Ways to Feed Pets Leftovers

If you are going to feed pets Thanksgiving leftovers, stick to skinless, boneless turkey. Make sure to give it in small amounts and watch for allergic reactions like skin rashes. Ensure the bird is fully cooked as well. Just like humans, cats and dogs are susceptible to foodborne bacteria like salmonella.

So long as it’s not in pie form, pumpkin is a great fiber-rich food that also has probiotic qualities. If you’re looking for a healthy dog food to celebrate the season, it’s a solid choice.

Who to Call if You Suspect a Problem

Should you spot vomiting or diarrhea and suspect your fur baby has consumed something it shouldn’t have, keep the numbers for the Pet Poison Hotline and ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center on hand.

No one wants to make a trip to the emergency vet on Thanksgiving over a twisted tummy. Skip the drama and keep watch over these questionable Thanksgiving ingredients.

When in doubt, stick to a balanced meal supplied by all-natural pet food sprinkled with turkey juice for extra flavor.

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