Thanksgiving treats for our dogs? NOT a good idea!

Today is Thanksgiving - a special day for all of us, where we get together with loved ones and enjoy a fine meal. Many of us want to share this special day with our pets and give them a taste of Thanksgiving.  NOT a good idea!  Before you consider sharing your wonderful turkey dinner with your pet, please read the following cautionary words penned by Dr.  Dr. Arnold L. Goldman, DVM MPH in response to an article in the Wall Street Journal titled, "For Pets, It's Fat Thursday With Pies, Dressing Under the Table".

Dr. Arnold's response was as follows:

To the Editor,

How heartened I was when I first spied the front page article "For Pets, It's Fat Thursday With Pies, Dressing Under the Table" (WSJ 11/25/2015).  

Finally, a major newspaper has taken seriously the reason veterinarians dread the aftermath of the Thanksgiving holiday for our animal patients. A thorough reading however, was a major let down, as the article completely missed the primary reason feasting holidays like Thanksgiving are so dangerous for pets, dogs in particular: We see high rates of severe gastrointestinal illness often requiring hospitalization, and with long term consequences and uncertain outcomes.

Yes, improper diet causes obesity in pets, particularly dogs who are often indiscriminate eaters, and like many humans have insufficient dietary self control. Yet that is an everyday phenomenon, rather than something particular to a one day holiday.  Holiday risks, in stark contrast, are related to intentional or unintentional opportunities provided to pets to eat high fat or carbohydrate human foods, cooking byproducts and garbage that may be left unattended.

The consequences of intentionally feeding gravy with a high fat or starch content, cooking pan drippings from a turkey or ham or unintentional access to a turkey carcass, bones or other trash include gastroenteritis, pancreatitis, "bloat", diarrhea and other dangerous and unpleasant medical sequelae. Many must be hospitalized, some will need surgery and more than a few will not survive, or suffer with permanent disability.

While my colleagues and I appreciate this lighthearted attempt to spotlight pet obesity avoidance, this was a missed opportunity to educate about, and prevent gastrointestinal illness, that often accompanies our human holidays.


Arnold L. Goldman DVM, MPH 
Delegate to the American Veterinary Medical Association (Connecticut) 
Canton Animal Hospital LLC 
198 Albany Turnpike 
Canton, CT 06019 

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