Holiday dangers for pets remain despite less family gatherings this year
This year, VERG is warning pet owners of potential household dangers to pets during Thanksgiving celebrations.
While many New Yorkers expect Thanksgiving to look a little different this year with families planning to celebrate outdoors or limiting indoor gatherings, this doesn’t necessarily decrease the potential dangers to pets.
“We want everyone to have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, and we also want them to remember that the holidays present a plethora of dangers to our furry family members,” said Dr. Brett Levitzke, medical director of VERG.
When planning Thanksgiving festivities,consider the following safety tips for their pets:
- It’s generally a good idea to ask family members and guests not to feed pets table scraps during meals or gatherings.
- Certainly, don’t share fatty foods with pets. Food, which is high in fat or contains a lot of butter, like gravy, can cause pancreatitis. Symptoms of pancreatitis include vomiting, fever, lethargy diarrhea and a decreased appetite. If caught and treated early and aggressively, most dogs recover without long-term issues. However, if left untreated, more serious consequences can result and even death can occur.
- Keep decorations out of the pet’s reach, including candles, extension cords and foldable furniture.
- Be cognizant of what is inside of floral arrangements as many plants commonly found in holiday arrangements like holly, mistletoe, amaryllis and lilies can be toxic to cats or dogs.
- Don’t allow pets to chew on any leftover bones. While any bone can become a choking hazard, cooked bones are even more dangerous, as they can splinter and perforate the intestines.
- Don’t share raw dough or batter that includes raw eggs, dairy or yeast with pets. Besides potentially causing an upset stomach, pets are also susceptible to salmonella just like people.
- Beware of other toxic ingredients like chocolate, avocados, onions, garlic, raisins, macadamia nuts and grapes, which are harmful for pets, even in small amounts.
- Any time you are planning to have guests or family over, ask them to be mindful of doors, ensuring they remain closed. Also make sure pets are microchipped. Veterinarians typically see an uptick in pets running away or being hit by cars during the holidays.
“Even with family gatherings expected to be limited this year, we still need to be mindful of the risk associated with our pets during celebrations, including Thanksgiving. It is common for guests to share their table scraps with pets, however they don’t realize the potential dangers this can lead to,” said Levitzke. “Pets need a steady, consistent diet and their digestive systems cannot process these foods the same as humans. Like most veterinary hospitals, we typically see a significant uptick in patients with digestion related emergencies around the holidays.”
If a pet does need emergency treatment this year, it’s important to know that this is not business as usual. Many veterinary hospitals have implemented new safety measures as a result of COVID-19. Veterinarians at VERG recommend for people to check with their veterinarian to locate hospital hours and COVID-19 protocols.
VERG in Brooklyn is open 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.