4 Ways to Avoid the Vet Emergency Room this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. The season is perfect; leaves changing, crisp mornings with warm afternoons and road crews frantically trying to beat the frost. It’s time for family togetherness, for reflection and of course food; lots of food.

For your pet, Thanksgiving also means food. It can also mean diarrhea, vomiting, pancreatitis, allergic reactions, toxicities, foreign object obstructions.

For you, this may mean Thanksgiving turns into a trip to the emergency vet. Accidents happen, but many trips to the emergency vet can be avoided by following some simple Thanksgiving tips:

1.) No Table Scraps: Instruct your family and all your guests to avoid feeding the pets. They’ve had their breakfast and don’t need any extras. Of course, we show our love for our pets by spoiling them with food and treats. If you insist, please choose bland treats like boneless, skinless turkey in small amounts. No gravy and certainly…

2.) No Bones: Bones can cause many serious problems in pets: broken teeth, vomiting, diarrhea with blood and bone impactions in the colon. If a bone gets stuck in the esophagus, the tube between the mouth and stomach, anesthesia and a video endoscope are required to remove it safely. I’ve removed more than a few bones from stomachs and intestines as they are often swallowed too big to pass and too dense to be digested. I once removed a bone from the rectum of a Bulldog. It was sharp as glass and stuck sideways. How it made it all the way to the end I’ll never know but that painful trip to the vet was easily avoidable.

3.) Keep Them Separated: If your guests become hypnotized by your pets cuteness and insist on obliging their frequent requests for scraps, it may be safer to keep them in a separate room or kennel. Keep them busy with a delicious “Kong” toy stuffed with their dinner kibbles soaked in water and frozen. This chore will keep them busy for a while.

4.) Safely Store Garbage: When the night is over, be sure your garbage is safely stored in a container where your pets could never have access. Opened garbage’s may contain a number of toxins, potential intestinal obstructions and molds if it’s been sitting around for a couple days.  

In my previous life as an emergency veterinarian enough Thanksgiving days and nights were spent treating countless preventable pet emergencies which could be easily avoided by following the above tips. Let’s be safe this Thanksgiving, and stay out of the emergency room.

Best wishes to all,

Dr. Kevin Benoit and the staff at Companion Veterinary Clinic


*If you do have a pet emergency after regular business hours and on holidays please contact our 24 hour emergency veterinary hospital. Their contact info can be found here.

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