Thanksgiving is almost here, and it appears that everyone is already frantically searching for the “perfect” Christmas gifts for those people who already have everything, but let’s pause and reflect on our many, many blessings.  Edgar Guest echoes my feelings about this neglected holiday:

“It may be I am getting old and like too much to dwell on the days of bygone years, the days I loved so well, but thinking of them now I wish somehow that I could know a simple old Thanksgiving Day, like those of long ago… get-together days with laughter ringing throughout the house, chatting, and sharing our hopes and dreams.”

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for our faith, family, and friends, and let’s not forget our furbabies. Our pets bring comfort and unconditional love to our lives with their nurturing, therapeutic spirits, and we are thankful for them, but sharing our dinner with them on this food-oriented holiday is not a good idea.  With the usual abundance of food, it’s a temptation to share, but too much fatty, rich food can give your pet pancreatitis which can be life-threatening.  Bones can splinter and stick in your dog’s throat, stomach or intestines, causing choking and intestinal blockage, and if a bone perforates the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, its contents will spill into the abdomen, resulting in infection and possibly death. The tasty string often used to tie up the turkey during roasting can also tie up their innards, and even the bag your turkey comes in and the little red “popper” pose threats.  Dogs should be kept away from alcohol, coffee and tea, bones, chocolate, garlic and onions, potato skins, grapes, nuts, yeast dough, and fruit seeds and pits, and you should store leftovers, trash and garbage securely away from your pets. According to the ASPCA, the number one problem that veterinarians see during the holidays is dogs eating food that they shouldn’t eat. Foods that cause the most problems include bones, turkey skin, gravy, dough and cake batter, beer, macadamia nuts, mushrooms, onions and garlic, sage, nutmeg (which is often found in sweet potatoes, yams, pumpkin pies and many desserts) and chocolate.  The risk to your dog’s health isn’t worth “treating” him to any of those foods, (and it’s tough to be thankful if you are missing out on all the fun while you sit in the emergency vet clinic with a sick dog.) When those beseeching, soulful eyes look at you, begging for a thanksgiving treat, remember that much of your feast is not fit for your pet. offers these suggestions for healthy treats that can safely be given in SMALL portions:

  • Sweet potatoes without the skin or seasoning
  • Raw apple slices
  • Either raw carrots or steamed carrots (or green beans) without seasoning
  • Yams with NO brown sugar or marshmallows (or nutmeg)
  • Mashed potatoes without the gravy
  • Pumpkin BEFORE you turn it into pie mix….PLAIN pumpkin (again without nutmeg or seasoning)
  • Small bits of turkey without skin or bone

By following a few basic tips, both you and your dog will enjoy a fun, safe Thanksgiving.  Have a great day GIVING THANKS for your faith, family, friends and furbabies! No price tag can be placed on any of them.