Holidays meals during a human pandemic might change the focus from stuffing our guests to one where we think we will spoil our pets a little more.
Don’t vary that diet by very much, or you could make your pet quite ill. Below is a list of what NOT to feed your pets.
Turkey, duck or goose bones, skin or gravy. Avoid the meat as well. If you must, a small amount of white meat will be okay. Gravy is too fatty and could result in diarrhea or pancreatitis. Any uncooked meat or raw eggs represents the same hazards to pets as they do humans. And bones can splinter, fracturing teeth and puncturing the bowels.
Stuffing usually is loaded with seasonings and herbs that are harmful to dogs. The added fats are a hazard as well.
Don’t’ feed the allium family of foods. The what? You know — garlic, onions, scallions and chives. They can cause toxic anemia in dogs and cats.
Small amounts of grapes and raisins can cause fatal kidney failure in dogs.
With chocolate and coffee, small amounts of either might be OK, but they can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Greater amounts can be fatal.
With spuds, avoid candied yams and mashed potatoes that we would eat, because the added fat and sugar can make your pet ill. Bare cooked potatoes and yams would be fine.
Corn cobs can be a tempting new chew toy — except they represent a choking hazard. Corn alone is okay in small amounts.
As far as I am concerned, nutmeg is the devil’s spice. I dislike it greatly. It can also make your pet sick, or in large amounts, be fatal.
Pets feel the same effects from alcoholic beverages as we do, only in smaller amounts. There really is no reason to give alcohol to a pet. Alcohol poisoning in a smaller mammal is a real danger.
Holiday nuts present a choking or bowel blockage hazard in pets if in the shell. Shelled, it is the fats and perhaps salt that will make them ill. Macadamia nuts are a special hazard. They can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs up to a half day after eating them. Symptoms can also last 12-48 hours.
What if your pooch grabs the dough out of a proofing bowl and eats it? The yeast in dough can bloat a dog’s stomach. If severe, it can be life-threatening twist of the bowel leading to a surgical emergency.
Finally, understand that pets often don’t like the company and socialization that we all like. Sure, they may hang around, but are they really happy and content? In most cases they aren’t. It is better to use their crates and confine them in their “den,” than to let them worry, collect food from well-meaning guests and perhaps net you an emergency veterinary bill during a holiday.
A back room, away from the noise with the door closed can be ideal. Now don’t forget them for 12 hours. Instead, try to keep them on their regular schedule including feeding, access to water and walks. Most times, a guest or two will want to walk along, too.
The day after, if you feel bad because your pet was not part of your celebration, don’t. Realize an animal doesn’t know what it missed, won’t make entries on its Facebook page dissing you for dissing them, and they won’t appreciate the fact that you protected them from a painful bout of pancreatitis. They’ll just love you like always.
Charlie Powell is the public information officer for the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, which provides this column as a community service.