5 Turkey Tips for Thanksgiving

roast-turkeyThoughts of roast turkey starts most of us (non-vegetarians) salivating, so you can understand why the smell of roast turkey makes our dogs so excited.

When we’re roasting chicken Zoe sits in the kitchen her eyes glued to the oven door for a couple of hours – you can see her willing the chicken out of the oven!

The sad thing is, if she did get her teeth stuck into the chicken, she could be a very sick dog.

Rich, fatty foods such as turkey skin and dark turkey meat are difficult to digest and can cause vomiting and diarrhea in your dog, and in extreme cases, pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas and can be lethal for your dog. Mini Schnauzers are particularly predisposed to pancreatitis.

The pancreas produces digestive enzymes, and when inflamed the natural production and release of these enzymes is upset. When the digestive enzymes are produced and there’s no food to digest, the enzymes will start digesting body tissue instead. This causes further inflammation of the pancreas – the severity of the pancreatitis, and your dog’s prognosis, will depend on how he reacts to this inflammation.

Symptoms of pancreatitis include loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea and fever. If you suspect your dog has helped himself to a turkey dinner and is showing any of these symptoms, then I suggest you take him to your vet as soon as you can.

Here are my 5 tips for a turkey safe thanksgiving:

  1. Don’t leave uncooked turkey unattended on the kitchen counter – the smell is too tempting for your dog. Raw meat can contain harmful bacteria, and turkey bones could either choke your dog or break/splinter whilst he’s eating them. Broken bones can tear, or get stuck in, any part of your dog’s gastrointestinal tract as they work their way through his system;
  2. Once you’ve cooked your turkey, and before you sit down to eat, clear away all the wrappings such as tin foil, string and meat skewers – they are all potential hazards for your dog;
  3. If you put the wrappings in the bin, make sure the lid is on firmly; we have used bricks on the bin lid in the past to keep out persistent foragers!
  4. Prepare a turkey treat for your dog that he can eat whilst you are having your meal – a kong stuffed with white turkey meat and dried kibble will keep him busy. If your dog’s in the room with you, you know he’s not up to turkey mischief in the kitchen. However, once he finished his treat, don’t give in to any begging from him; and
  5. A tired dog is a good dog. Try and give you dog a good energetic walk in the morning, something that’s mentally and physically stimulating. That way he’ll be more inclined to sleep or at least lie quietly whilst you are preparing and eating your turkey roast – particularly if you give him his kong to keep him busy!

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving Day!

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