Gobble – Gobble – Gobble…Thanksgiving Pet Safety Tips

Thanksgiving-and-dog

The holiday season begins with Thanks giving and can be fun for the whole family.

Ovens are working overtime and delicious holiday aromas fill the air, and during this happy time we sometimes tend to become overly generous with our furry friends. This means that often they will “benefit” from table food scraps.  Sometimes, however, too many treats can lead to injury or illness for our pets, and we need to ensure that we keep the “Happy” in Thanksgiving, and avoid a trip to the vet!

NO to Fat: Fatty or rich foods (e.g. beef fat, poultry skin,  gravy, etc.) can cause severe gastrointestinal issues, including:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive gas
  • Pancreatitis[1]

We are better off feeding a few small bites of lean poultry or unsalted/-unbuttered veggies as a treat.

NO to Chocolate: Remember all the chocolaty goodies offered over Thanksgiving (and other holidays).  Chocolate is super dangerous for our furry friends, especially, because it contains theobromine[2]. Dogs are not able to metabolize theobromine as quickly as humans, and the following can occur:

  • Digestive issues
  • Dehydration
  • Excitability
  • Slow heart rate

YES to Green Beans: Plain, cooked green beans are a wonderful treat for our dogs, and fresh veggies are a great addition to their diet. But beware of our famous green bean casserole, because it contains other ingredients that are bad for our pets.

NO to Xylitol: While we may be making a healthier choice by cooking/ baking with artificial sweeteners, they contain Xylitol, which is poisonous to animals, and potentially deadly to dogs.

YES to Cranberry Sauce: Cranberry sauce is just fine for dogs but be cognizant of the amount of sugar and acid in it. It’s probably best to only put a small helping on your dog’s plate.

YES to Mashed Potatoes: Potatoes are a great, filling vegetable to share with our dogs. However, even though potatoes themselves are not harmful to dogs, be aware of other ingredients that may be in our mashed potatoes -cheese, sour cream, butter, onions, and gravies are no-no’s in a dog’s diet.

YES to Turkey: Turkey is a great lean protein to share with our pets. We just need to be sure to remove any excess skin or fat (best to stick with white meat, too) and make sure there are no bones.

YES to Exercise:  Our pet’s meal and exercise schedules are important, and a disruption in their dietary routine can cause stomach upset, diarrhea and/ or vomiting.

NO to Bones:  Make no bones about it. Certain bones can lacerate/ obstruct our pets’ intestines.  So, save the bones for the turkey soup -not your dog.

NO to Onions:  Onions (onion powder, too) are widely found in stuffing and used as a general seasoning.  Those, however, will destroy our dog or cat’s red blood cells, which can lead to anemia.

NO to Grapes and Raisins:  Grapes and raisins contain a toxin that can cause kidney damage to both dogs and cats.

NO to Food Wrappings:  Aluminum foil, wax paper and other food wrappings can cause intestinal obstruction. We have to make sure to place these items securely in the garbage.

NO to Garbage:  Keep an eye on the garbage and keep it securely fastened! If our dogs get into it, they may think “jackpot”, but all they’ll be winning is health problems from something as simple as gastric disturbance, vomiting and diarrhea to the worst-case scenario – death. Yikes!

YES to Fresh Water:  We have to make sure our pets always have fresh water. When there are more people in the house, there are more chances to bump into the water bowl leaving our pets dry and thirsty –not good, especially, when being “spoiled” under the table with stuff they shouldn’t be eating in the first place.

YES to Quiet Time:  We have to make sure our pets have a quiet retreat, because sometimes festivities can be too much for them.  It’s a good idea to observe their behavior to ensure they are not stressed.

So, gobble – gobble – gobble… Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, y’all!

 


[1] Pancreatitis is a severe inflammation of the pancreas, an organ that produces digestive enzymes. On the mild side, pancreatitis can cause vomiting and a decrease in appetite, but can potentially be fatal.

[2] Caffeine-like ingredient that can be toxic to our pets; ater stages of theobromine poisoning include epileptic-like seizures and pet death. Keep your pets away from dark, semi-sweet and baker’s chocolate because they contain higher levels of theobromine.

 

F.D.A. Bids to Regulate Animal Food, Acting After Recall and Deaths

 

Pigs ate at a farm in Middletown, Pa., in 2012.

JESSICA KOURKOUNIS FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
By SABRINA TAVERNISE
October 25, 2013

The Food and Drug Administration proposed rules on Friday that would govern the production of pet food and farm animal feed for the first time.

The regulation would help prevent food-borne illness in both animals and people, officials at the agency said, as people can become sick from handling contaminated animal food and from touching pets that have eaten it.

The proposal comes six years after the biggest pet food recall in history, when a Chinese producer contaminated dog and cat food with melamine, a compound used in plastics, causing the deaths of animals across the United States.

The public outcry helped lead to the inclusion of animal food in the Food Safety and Modernization Act, a landmark food safety bill, which passed with broad support in 2010 and was the first major overhaul of the Food and Drug Administration’s food safety laws since the 1930s. It gives the F.D.A. more control over food imports as well as broad new powers to set standards to prevent contamination of produce and processed food. The rules proposed Friday offer details on how this would be accomplished.

Jerky treats have also caused pet deaths. Since 2007, the F.D.A. has counted about 580 pet deaths, nearly all dogs, connected to chicken, duck and sweet potato jerky treats, nearly all of which were imported from China. It is not clear if the new regulations could have prevented the deaths because the F.D.A. is not sure yet what the hazard is.

The agency had received more than 3,000 complaints about the jerky over five years. The reports involve more than 3,600 dogs and 10 cats. One sickness associated with the treats, an illness of the kidneys known as Fanconi syndrome, appears to be concentrated more in smaller dogs, the agency said.

The proposal is open for public comment for 120 days. If passed, it would regulate the production of feed for millions of farm animals, including cows, pigs and chickens, as well as pet food. In all, there are about 78 million dogs and 86 million cats as household pets in the United States.

Much like regulations proposed for human food this year, the rules would require makers of animal food sold in the United States to develop a written plan to prevent food-borne illnesses, like salmonella, and to put it into effect. Producers would need to put protective procedures into place at critical points in the production process where problems are likely to arise.

For example, for canned dog food, producers might have to set up a system to monitor whether the food has been cooked long enough at the right temperature, said Michael R. Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine. They would also need to keep records to document it.

“We know from experience that when the system doesn’t deliver, people get irate,” Mr. Taylor said. “It’s all about having a systematic plan to make the food safe.”

The rules would also require producers to correct problems that arise and re-evaluate their plans at least every three years. And they would require them to maintain standards of cleanliness for the facilities and people who work in them. Smaller businesses would have more time to comply with the rules, once they become final. If companies do not comply, the agency said it could take any number of actions, including issuing warning letters, advising consumers, and in some cases, seizing products and prosecuting producers.

The proposal does not address the use of antibiotics given to animals, sometimes in feed. Public health advocates warn that the practice is contributing to dangerous levels of antibiotic resistance in humans.

 

 

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/10/26/health/fda-moves-to-regulate-food-for-animals.html

FDA to vets: Watch out for jerky pet treats; some linked to illness, death

By CNN Staff

updated 9:53 PM EDT, Tue October 22, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The FDA says it’s received reports of thousands of pets getting sick
  • Official: “This is one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we’ve encountered”
  • The agency asks veterinarians to report illnesses tied to jerky pet treats
  • The FDA says most of the treats involved were made in China

(CNN) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a message for veterinarians and pet owners: If dogs or cats get sick after eating jerky pet treats, let us know.

The agency says it’s received reports of more than 3,600 dogs and 10 cats that got sick after eating jerky pet treats since 2007. Of those cases, the FDA says, more than 580 pets have died.

“This is one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we’ve encountered,” said Bernadette Dunham, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.

“Most of the jerky treats implicated have been made in China,” the FDA said. Investigators have tested more than 1,200 samples but haven’t uncovered what could be causing the illnesses.

On Tuesday, the FDA issued a letter to veterinarians asking for helptracking the illnesses. The agency also released a fact sheet for pet owners warning of possible symptoms, including decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea, increased water consumption and increased urination.

“FDA recommends that pet owners whose pet becomes sick after eating jerky pet treats should hold on to any unused portion of the product in its original container for at least 60 days, in case FDA calls to request samples for testing,” the fact sheet says. “Owners should place the container inside a sealable plastic bag, if possible.”

The FDA says there isn’t a particular brand for which consumers should watch.

“The illnesses have been linked to many brands of jerky treats,” the FDA says. “The one common factor the cases share is consumption of a chicken or duck jerky treat or jerky-wrapped treat, mostly imported from China.”

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May is National Pet Month!

National-Pet-Month

Since May is national Pet Month, lets all celebrate our Pets! Here are 6 gifts we can give to our pets:

ADD AN ID CHIP.

A microchip is the single best way to ensure that our pets will make their way back to usin case they run off, or get lost.
homeagain-microchips-facts

HEALTHY WEIGHT.

To ensure strong and healthy joints and our pets’ overall longevity, we can make sure we feed them properly, keep table scraps out of their bowl, and create opportunities for exercise.
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THE BIG FIX.

Getting our dog or cat spayed or neutered not only reduces the likelihood of unwanted offspring,
but it offers many health benefits, too.
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PEST PREVENTION.

It takes year-round vigilance to prevent fleas and worms-our pets’ good health depends on it.
flea-lifecycle

DENTAL CARE.

We can’t let our pets suffer from tooth or gum disease. We can consult with our vet about keeping our pets’
mouth clean and healthy.
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VACCINATIONS.

We should visit our vet regularly and make sure our cats and dogs are up to date on all of their immunizations.
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Images courtesy of: all-pets-info.com, valleyanimalcoalition.org, catinfo.org, vetcoclinics.com, k9fitclub.com, kewbeachvets.com

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