So, let’s talk turkey. Thursday may be a stellar day in your pet’s career of begging and stealing food from you and especially your unsuspecting guests. I know that with my crew, a celebration spent with visiting friends and relatives is viewed as an opportunity to beak ALL the rules and get away with things that would never fly on a daily basis. I’ll be the first one to admit that I enjoy including my four-leggers in the celebration, but it’s very important that we humans are the only ones over-indulging.
Let’s start with the turkey. As a general rule, it’s fine to share a little of the big bird with your pets, but you need to stick to the white meat. Strip off the excess skin and fat, stay away from the dark meat (which has a higher fat content) and, of course, make sure there are no bones in what you give them. Keep in mind that, like people, animals can be sensitive to certain foods so don’t overdo it.
Potatoes can be OK too, but if they’re mashed with butter and milk, or embellished with sour cream, you may have a problem. Adult cats often become lactose-intolerant, so I would avoid anything with dairy products for them.
Stuffing … NO, forget about it. First of all, even more than you and me, they don’t need all those carbs. And more importantly, your pet should not eat anything that has onion in it or has been cooked with onions. Onions can cause severe anemia and be deadly when larger amounts are ingested.
Now let’s get to dessert. Let me be the first to say that I am hard-pressed to share my pumpkin pie with ANYBODY, including cute, fuzzy creatures with big, sad eyes staring up at me. That said, some of you may feel less strongly about the subject and be willing to give up some of it. In that case, pumpkin itself is actually good for your pets; but here again, we have other ingredients in the pie that are not so good. Frankie, my smallest dog, happens to feel just as strongly about pumpkin pie as I do.
Normally not a beggar, he becomes completely entranced with every forkful lifted off my plate. This is something you can actually use to your advantage. Save a little of the pumpkin straight from the can, sans all the other ingredients, and give that to your pet. This is a win-win situation. It’s good for your pet” low in fat, high in fiber, and loaded with vitamins and minerals.
As far as the spirit of the holiday is concerned, I’m sure that those of you who follow this column are as thankful for your pets as I am for mine, and I hope you can take a few minutes during this busy season to let them know how much they are loved. I also want to make sure that those of you who have helped a homeless or abused animal know that your efforts are greatly appreciated. Whether you’ve adopted, donated, volunteered or called in a cruelty report, you’ve made a difference in the life of an animal. We sincerely thank you for that.