Thanksgiving season is a time when we reflect on the things that enrich our lives and take a moment to appreciate them. During this holiday, many of us reflect on friends and family — and our companion animals, too.
Traditionally, Thanksgiving is commemorated by gathering together and sharing a meal. Even for those that don’t typically share their plates with their pets, many pet owners want to give their pets a little extra from their Thanksgiving feast.
One of the most customary Thanksgiving foods is the turkey — and pet owners are often tempted to share some of the leftovers and the turkey bones with their canine companions. While it may seem to be a fitting holiday treat, it is important to be aware that turkey bones are not safe to give to your dog.
Turkey bones are hollow, fragile bones that can splinter easily, leading to a host of potential medical problems.
The most common danger associated with these bones is sharp pieces of the bone can scrape, cut or pierce your pet’s digestive tract as they pass through. Aside from causing injury and ulcers, your pet becomes at risk of peritonitis — an infection in the lining of the abdominal cavity.
Puncturing the digestive tract as the bones pass isn’t the only risk.
Bones are not digestible, and if your canine companion swallows a larger piece of the bone, it may become lodged in the digestive tract. When this happens, the bone can create a blockage, obstructing food from passing through. A blockage can be life threatening, and because bone fragments are sharp they often require surgical removal.
While cooked bones are dry and the most likely to splinter, raw bones are still apt to splinter and have the additional risk of carrying salmonella and other bacterias.
Poultry and pork are highest risk, especially after they have sat out for a few hours. While most healthy dogs can overcome salmonella and other bacterias on their own, more severe cases do require medical treatment.
It is important, however, to be aware that many bacterias that pets can pick up, such as salmonella, are shed through the pet’s stool and saliva, and can spread to humans.
Turkey bones are not the only kind of bone that can be hazardous for our pets. Rib bones, pork bones, steak bones and any kind of poultry bones are just as likely to cause problems. All of these bones can splinter and break easily.
The safest bones for your pets include ham bones, shin bones and knuckle bones. There are also bones that can be purchased at pet product stores that are much safer for your pets to chew.
Thanksgiving is a time to share a meal with our loved ones, and sharing some of the bounty with your beloved pets isn’t a terrible thing.
If you do sneak an extra treat for your pets, be sure that the foods you are sharing are safe for your pets — and stay away from bones that might cause problems for your furry friends.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 17, 2013