Thanksgiving Food and Pets

Dog at table with turkey dinner in front of him.
As much as we’d like to include our furry family members in our Thanksgiving celebration, the menu selection for pets can be tricky. Even a small amount of turkey skin can lead to a life-threatening condition called pancreatitis, and many other Thanksgiving staples are poisonous to pets.   Here is a list of Thanksgiving foods to keep away from animal companions — and a few you can share. Keep in mind that even “safe” foods can be dangerous if you feed too much.  If your pet likes to scavenge, be sure to clean up leftovers as soon as your meal is over, and keep trash cans tightly covered. If you’re having guests over, make sure they know not to feed table scraps to your pets — no matter how much they beg! Foods that are NOT safe for pets: Turkey Skin & Drippings Turkey Bones Ham Stuffing Salt & Seasonings Grapes Raisins Onions & Garlic Chives & Leeks Macadamia Nuts Walnuts Mushrooms Corn on the Cob Chocolate Bread Dough Alcohol Xylitol   Foods that are SAFE for pets in small amounts* Turkey (boneless, skinless, unseasoned white meat) Green Beans (unseasoned) Mashed Potatoes (plain, cooked & unseasoned) Sweet Potatoes (plain, cooked, & unseasoned) Apple (2 or 3 slices, no seeds) * Even “safe” foods are dangerous if you feed too much, so limit portions to about a spoonful of each.

Halloween Costume Safety for Dogs

Dog in Cookie monster Halloween costume
As adorable as dogs may look in Halloween costumes, it’s important to prioritize safety and comfort over style and cuteness. If you’re planning to dress up your dog for Halloween, here are some tips to keep in mind: Make sure the costume fits properly and doesn’t interfere with your dog’s sight, hearing, breathing, or movement. Avoid costumes with pieces that can be tripped over or chewed off. Never leave your pet unsupervised while dressed up. Don’t remove your dog’s collar or ID tag. If your dog has a thick coat, choose a lightweight costume to prevent overheating. Do a dress rehearsal before the big day. If after a few attempts, your pet rejects the costume, don’t force it.

Kidney Disease in Pets

cat drinking water
Kidney disease refers to the inability of the kidneys to work properly. Kidneys perform several key functions in the body, the most important of which is filtering waste products from the blood. Kidneys also maintain the balance of electrolyte levels in the body (such as sodium, potassium, and chloride), maintain blood pressure, and produce urine. Damage to the kidneys can result in the buildup of waste products to dangerous levels in the blood, also known as azotemia. There are two main types of kidney disease – acute kidney injury (AKI) and chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD develops slowly over time and can damage the kidneys to the point where they are unable to function properly. CKD was previously termed chronic renal failure (CRF). Unlike acute kidney injury, CKD does not disappear with treatment. CKD affects up to 10% of elderly dogs, while all cats are at risk of developing the disease. Unfortunately, it can take months or even years before a pet with CKD show signs of the disease. In addition, pets that have been diagnosed with AKI are at risk of developing permanent damage to their kidneys which can lead to CKD.

Back-to-School Pet Safety

Dog being carried by child in their backpack
After spending an entire summer with the whole family together, your dog or cat may be affected by the abrupt change in routine once your kids go back to school. Not only will they have to deal with a new schedule, but there are safety concerns to take into consideration for pets at home alone. Here are some tips for a smooth, back-to-school transition for your pet.

Spaying & Neutering in Cats

Three veterinary professionals treat a cat
Spaying and neutering are sterilization procedures which prevent a pet’s ability to reproduce. “Spay” is the colloquial term for the surgical removal of female reproductive organs and “neuter” is the colloquial term for the removal of male reproductive organs. Kittens are most commonly spayed or neutered as a routine measure to prevent future pregnancies and the development of certain diseases. Spaying and neutering help to save approximately 4 million pet lives each year (the number of unwanted dogs and cats euthanized in animal shelters across the US). Spaying and neutering are highly recommended unless your cat is to be used for breeding. Sometimes, spaying or neutering is a treatment for certain diseases and conditions. For example, unspayed females can develop a life-threatening uterine infection called pyometra that requires emergency surgery to remove the uterus. Males with testicular diseases or injuries, such as testicular torsion or testicular cancer, may also require the removal of their testicles for treatment. An enlarged prostate or a prostatic infection are treated by neutering as well.