Don’t let your Thanksgiving dinner go to the dogs — or any other pet

Pet owners may be more thankful than ever for their four-legged companions as the coronavirus pandemic continues to present challenges. But that’s not an excuse to go nuts with scraps from the Thanksgiving Day meal.

The last thing any pet owner wants to do is spend Thanksgiving at the animal hospital because someone fed your dog or cat table food they should not have eaten.

“We see so many gastrointestinal cases coming in the day after Thanksgiving, and it’s because people have been a little bit too generous,” said Dr. Katy Nelson, senior veterinarian for Chewy Health.

If you’re determined to share the traditional Thanksgiving Day turkey, Nelson said “stick to a small portion of white breast meat, which is nice and lean. And remember to remove the skin, which is too fatty for pets.”

But she insisted it is always best to leave the table food to the humans: “For our pets, they’re just basically going to gobble up anything that you offer to them.”

And that can be a problem, as many of the foods we eat can make a cat or dog sick.

“Foods that have a high amount of garlic or onion, even tomatoes; sugar-free foods can be highly dangerous and highly toxic to pets; that can be extremely dangerous,” Nelson warned.

She said to keep ham, meatballs and sugary sweet potato dishes away from pets, too.

“Just make sure that if you are offering something from the table, that it’s not highly seasoned, it’s not high-fat and it’s something that may mimic what our pets already have in their diet.”

Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

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