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Matthew Sisk: Avoid dog disasters on Thanksgiving
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Thanksgiving is coming.

Now, that statement may not seem as foreboding as “Winter is coming,” but it still is a harbinger of danger for your pet.

So, before you start your gravy, stuffing or pumpkin pie preparations, please read and contemplate the following: Thanksgiving wants to kill your dog.

While I freely admit that sentence sounds more like the tagline for a bad horror movie, it’s still true. The food and festivities surrounding Thanksgiving will offer dangers to your dog that no other single day can supply.

Sharing human foods is bad for dogs. That’s an overstatement and an understatement. Not all human foods are toxic to dogs, but some are.

Think you know all the dangerous foods? Unless you spend two years in a library working on your masters of science in monogastric animal nutrition, then study to attain a doctorate of veterinary medicine for four more years, you probably don’t.

The safe play is to not share.

But what if you routinely share human foods with your dog?

First, you shouldn’t do that. If nothing else, it encourages bad dietary behavior and predisposes your pet to nutritional diseases. Those diseases go from obesity to nutrient deficiencies related to reluctance to eat a balanced diet.

Second, if your dog is a routine table food eater, it does not mean he can’t get sick from it. Pancreatitis can occur at any time. Add in a bit of physiologic stress related to unfamiliar company visiting, and you’re at risk for an occurrence.

Plus, pancreatitis can range from mild inappetence to death. Why risk it?

Less severe complication from sharing can be simple diarrhea or vomiting. You have enough clean up to do after the humans. Don’t add to your toils by having a dog disaster on the rug.

Third, some dogs will raid the trash and ingest bones or foreign objects used in food preparation. You don’t want an emergency Thanksgiving surgery for your pet. Secure your trash.

The same risks are present for cats as well. They are more stealthy when stealing foods, so be wary.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at

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