Family at kitchenAlthough fall has just begun, the cooler temperatures have many of us turning our thoughts toward the approaching holiday season and it’s opportunities for delicious, home-cooked meals. While it may not be as obvious, pets, too, may be looking forward to the chance to sneak (or be handed) a delicious morsel or three off the dinner table.

Food safety for pets is a concern year-round, and now is the perfect time to brush up on the risks associated with feeding table scraps to pets.


The Dangers of Pancreatitis

Feeding your furry family members the leftovers from your plate may not seem harmful. After all, what pet doesn’t love a little hunk of fat that has been trimmed off a steak, or a few of the pizza crusts your kids didn’t eat? And, what could be bad about the family pet hanging out underneath the highchair, waiting to collect whatever the youngest member of the family drops during mealtimes?

As it turns out, eating even a small amount of fatty or oily foods, such as poultry skin, gravy, or bacon, can cause gastrointestinal upset, or worse, pancreatitis, an extremely dangerous inflammation of the pancreas.

Symptoms of pancreatitis include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal distension
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Dehydration

Pets suffering from pancreatitis need medical intervention, which may include fluid therapy, pain medication, and anti-vomiting or anti-diarrheal medications. Avoid the problem altogether by keeping your pet away from the holiday table scraps.

Obesity and Diabetes

Obesity and diabetes are no longer just human problems. Excess weight can trigger insulin resistance and diabetes in pets, and overweight pets can also expect to suffer other ill effects of obesity, including decreased lifespan and increased risk for serious diseases.

With more than half of the pets in the United States considered overweight or obese, it’s more important than ever to keep our pets’ caloric intake in check. Fatty, calorie dense foods from your holiday table should not be on the menu for Fido and Fluffy. Instead, try the following ideas to keep your pet happy and healthy this holiday season:

  • While the family eats, offer your pet a low calorie snack, such as cooked carrots or green beans. Make sure to check our list of foods that are safe for pets.
  • Gather the family, grab the leash, and head out for an after-dinner walk with your pet.
  • Is your pet feeling left out while the rest of the family enjoys that scrumptious holiday dessert? Try giving your pet a spoonful of pumpkin as a low calorie dessert option (cats like it too!).

Food Safety for Pets

Besides the obvious health concerns of overeating, pets are also at risk for choking or intestinal blockage due to the ingestion of foreign objects over the holiday season. The most common culprits include:

  • Aluminum foil
  • Bones
  • Corn cobs
  • String from turkey
  • Meat packaging

Any object can pose a risk to your pet, so be sure to put leftovers away immediately and keep trash bins covered at all times.

Call us if you have any questions about food safety for pets.