Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Beagle dog licking plate from table. Hungry dog concept

Dogs and turkey bones? Just say no

Thanksgiving’s almost here, and a reader wanted to know if it’s okay to share the leftover bones from her holiday turkey with her dog. Here’s what I told her, and why.

Q: With Thanksgiving coming up, I was wondering if it’s OK to give my dog the leftover turkey bones from the feast?

A: I know it’s tempting, but that’s not a good idea — no bones about it.

Dogs certainly love to eat bones, and during the holidays they are extra tempted to raid the trash for leftovers or steal meat with bones off the table, but cooked bones hold risks you don’t want to deal with. They can splinter, puncturing the intestinal tract and potentially causing serious or even fatal bacterial infections.

Bones can also cause an intestinal blockage. When that occurs, you may be taking your dog to the veterinarian for X-rays every day or two to make sure the bones are dissolving and passing safely through the system and out the back end. Worst-case scenario, your dog will need emergency surgery to remove the blockage.

There are other reasons not to give bones of any kind:

— Large or oddly shaped bones (think T-bones or beef vertebrae) can become stuck in the esophagus, causing choking, or elsewhere in the intestinal tract.

— Dogs who gulp bones instead of gnawing them thoroughly can choke on them.

— Dogs can break a tooth on a bone, requiring an expensive repair or extraction.

— Bones can become lodged on the lower jaw and must be removed by the veterinarian.

— An assortment of bones or bone fragments in the intestinal tract can cause canine constipation.

— Sharp bone fragments passing through can cause pain and bleeding from the rectum.

Bottom line: I always advise against giving dogs poultry or fish bones, and other bones are cause for concern as well. To prevent unauthorized bone intake, don’t leave them on the counter or in a trash can that is accessible to your dog.

Read more in Pet Connection, the weekly nationally syndicated pet feature I co-write with Kim Campbell Thornton and my daughter, trainer Mikkel Becker.

Quora kisses

Thanksgiving Day reflections on a life with pets

This time last year we were eagerly awaiting the arrival of our newly adopted dogs Quin’C and Quill’N, and enjoying the golden years of our Quora, Quixote, and Gracie, as well as our spitfire distemper survivor pup QT Pi Becker, a barn full of cats, and our beloved horses.

We didn’t know that our time with Quin’C would be brief, as he succumbed to cancer just a few months after arriving at Almost Heaven Ranch. And we had no idea sweet Quora would follow him not long after.

And we certainly didn’t know that we’d adopt a little tabby cat named Talley who would take over our house and hearts as if she’d been born to do just that (which she may have been).

Anyone who has lived long enough with pets will have years like this. We aren’t complaining, because the joys outweigh the sorrows. But at every turn, whether celebrating a happy moment or mourning a loss, you have been with us with your prayers, your kind words, and your understanding.

You’ve also been there for every animal I’ve asked you to help — donating to help pets caught in the many natural disasters that struck our country this year, sharing about pets in need of adoption, spreading the word about pet food and drug recalls and other lifesaving information.

You rejoiced as we launched Fear Free Happy Homes, cheered every silly moment I posted on QT Pi’s Facebook page, and shared my anger at animal cruelty while at the same time reminding me to remember we who love animals far outnumber those who harm them.

So as we celebrate Thanksgiving today, Teresa and I extend our gratitude to and for all of you for your compassion for animals, and kindness to this veterinarian and his family. Happy Thanksgiving!

Dogs and food

Thanksgiving with pets: Heavy on the fun, light on the trips to the emergency vet

Don’t invite lights and sirens to your Thanksgiving dinner! In this guest post, my son, Lex Becker, tells you how to keep your pets safe on this most food-centered of holidays!

The kitchen and the dinner table at Thanksgiving are cornucopias for a pet’s senses, with steaming piles of meat, vegetables, and baked goods just out of reach. It’s almost guaranteed that your pets will be making a pitstop at each human feeding station along the circumference of the table.

While most pet owners know what their pets can and can’t eat, your guests may not. Any food that isn’t a regular part of a pet’s diet can potentially cause issues ranging from a few days of diarrhea to severe cases of pancreatitis.

The dangers come in two forms: high-fat or high-alcohol.

Foods high in fat , like ham, gravy, and dark turkey meat, can cause a dog or cat’s pancreas to go into overdrive producing enzymes intended to digest the fat. The problem is that those same enzymes can end up digesting the pancreas itself.

If your pet begins vomiting, refuses to eat, walks strangely, or refuses to get up, you’ve got an emergency on your hands and need to head for the veterinary ER.

The second danger is more of a surprise: Alcohol poisoning. No, dogs and cats aren’t likely to over-imbibe the spiked punch. The alcohol comes from unbaked dough; yeast works by releasing ethanol and carbon dioxide to make the dough rise. This same action can create a dangerous cocktail in a pet’s stomach, causing severe bloating from the release of gas, and possible poisoning from the pets inability to process the ethanol. If you find your pet vomiting, bloated, weak, or lethargic, they may have alcohol poisoning, and need a trip to the ER.

While small amounts from accidental drops will most likely be fine, as will the occasional chance to lick a plate, it’s a good idea to ask your guests ahead of time not to feed your pets. Pre-program your cell phone with your vet hospital, on-call emergency vet if you have one, and the pet poison control center (888-426-4435) so if something does go wrong, or if you have any concerns, you have your team at the ready.

A little preparation and awareness will give you some peace of mind during Thanksgiving. Let’s be honest, you’ll need all you can get!

lexbioLex grew up on a ranch in small town North Idaho with a family life centered around pets and wildlife. He attended the University of Idaho in Moscow, and worked in the startup world in Boston. He’s extensively traveled to over 50 countries, lived in three, and is planning the journey through the rest. Lex enjoys good food, a surfboard, and a cat on his lap.