By Dr. Ernie Ward, Rachael Ray Nutrish vet expert
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Your dog may beg for it, but you should never feed your pet bones from the Thanksgiving turkey. The small bones can splinter and leave shards lodged in your pet’s throat, intestines, or stomach, potentially causing choking or blockages that may require surgery.
TRASHCAN WOES: Make sure the trashcan lid is on tight, and do not give your pet any leftovers. Greasy foods can cause severe stomach problems in pets. Other no-nos include onions in holiday stuffing, which can lead to canine anemia, and grapes and raisin toxins, which can cause kidney failure in pets.
KEEP AWAY FROM HOLIDAY TREATS: Chocolate can be toxic to pets: The higher the cocoa content, the more dangerous it is. Keep candy wrappers and aluminum foil away from your pet, as they could get stuck in your animal’s throat.
KEEP AN EYE ON FIDO: Keep your pet inside and when opening the door for your guests. Watch your dog closely so he doesn’t pull a fast one on you and escape. Your pets should have current identification on them—or better yet, make sure your dog has a microchip.
SET UP A “SAFE ROOM.” Guests can be stressful on pets. Give your dog a quiet place of his own with food, water, and his favorite toys and bed. This will give your pet a place to relax in case your holiday celebration gets to be overwhelming. Make sure to take a few minutes to hang out with your dog and give him some love so he doesn’t feel left out.
Dr. Ernie Ward has been featured on Animal Planet, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and multiple times on the Rachael Ray Show. He is a vet expert for Rachael Ray’s Nutrish and founder/president of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. He serves as the founder and chief of staff at Seaside Animal Care, a full-service animal veterinary hospital in Calabash, NC.
By Morgan McMillan
When it comes to holidays, it’s hard to think about eating in terms of moderation. The thought of eating healthfully for Thanksgiving conflicts with the tradition of spending quality family time and loosening your jeans for a hefty meal.
While indulgence is the key word, for animal lovers healthy eating doesn’t necessarily mean cutting way back on the holiday menu. Choosing to eat from a vegetarian or vegan menu instead of stuffing your face with turkey is a great pet lover’s way to indulge in a holiday meal.
Just because you’re eliminating meat or animal by-products altogether doesn’t mean you have to starve. Choices like the holiday roast and gravy or vegetarian feast from Tofurky are delicious and healthy for the holidays. Or if cooking is a big part of your tradition, celebrate with vegan and vegetarian recipes at hand.
So dive into a healthier, animal-friendly choice this holiday season. Check online at Tofurky.com for more of their meat alternative products or VegCooking.com/holiday-meals.asp for recipes to cook up your own vegetarian holiday meal.