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Tis the season to say thanks to those we love, including our canine companions. Some pet owners like to do this by sharing their feast with their pooch. While you may think that a few morsels of “people food” can’t hurt, the fact is that some foods can be harmful—even lethal—to dogs.

The foods we eat during the holidays tend to be particularly rich and fatty, and that can cause tummy issues in dogs. Vomiting and diarrhea are commonly seen in pets given food that is not a part of their regular diet, especially foods that are high in fat.

How to ensure that your dog has a safe and healthy Thanksgiving:

  1. Never give your dog poultry bones—they can splinter easily and stick in the esophagus, stomach, or intestines.
  2. Keep him away from chocolate—it can be fatal to dogs. Bowls of candy, or pieces dropped by guests or children, may pose a real risk to your pets. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. But any chocolate, in large enough amounts, can kill a dog. An ounce of chocolate can be toxic to a 30-pound dog, and many dogs can easily consume more than that. You might think up high on the table is safe but when you are not looking fido does some amazing tricks to get a treat. Keep it up high and in a cabinet to be safe.
  3. Don’t let your dog lie where food is often dropped. If he is not trained to stay out of the garbage, use a can with a lid, or keep it out of your pet’s reach. Dogs are capable of amazing feats when they want to get to a tasty morsel.
  4. Make sure your pet can’t access food left on counters or tables. After you’ve cleaned the kitchen, take the garbage out and dispose of it in a secure place where no pets can get into it.
  5. Watch the door as guests enter and leave. An open door is an invitation for a dog to flee a busy house for the world outside. So as guests arrive and leave, keep an eye on your dog—or, if he’s shy and upset by company, keep him in a quieter part of the house during noisy festivities.

Thanksgiving meals may have all your favorites, but imagine what can happen to your dog if he chows down on some turkey and pumpkin pie. Keep in mind that the potential risks of feeding him Thanksgiving leftovers far outweigh his momentary delight. A little restraint and a yummy chew toy or a special treat will keep your dog safe this Thanksgiving and for many holidays to come.

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