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Dog begging at a table

Keep pets away from Thanksgiving feast

Q: After we slice the turkey on Thanksgiving, there’s always some meat left on the carcass. Last year, our cat Gus begged like a dog for it. May we let him feast on the turkey carcass this year?

A: It would be best not to let Gus or even a real dog lick the bones clean. A better idea is to simmer the turkey carcass in a big pot of water and use the stock to make a delicious soup.

For several reasons, Gus should eat his regular cat food instead of joining your Thanksgiving feast.

First, adding extra meat and fat would upset his balanced diet. If you must share, though, give him no more than a teaspoon of white meat – and hold the mashed potatoes and gravy, please.

Another reason to keep Gus away from the turkey carcass is to prevent him from ingesting small bones that could splinter and perforate his intestines. Rushing him to the veterinarian for emergency surgery would surely ruin the Thanksgiving weekend for everyone, especially Gus.

If you stuff the turkey, protect Gus from the filling, which undoubtedly contains onions and garlic that damage red blood cells.

Yet another danger to letting Gus finish off the turkey carcass is the string that ties turkey legs together. If Gus swallows the string, it could become lodged in his intestines and necessitate surgery.

Finally, if you reward Gus’ begging by giving him food, his begging will increase. He may even jump onto the kitchen counter or dining table to steal food.

Even without the turkey carcass, Gus has a lot to be thankful for this year.

Editor’s Note: Holidays bring family and friends together to celebrate. Here are ideas and tips for including your pet in the Thanksgiving fun.


Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine. Contact her at askdrlee@insurefigo.com

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