Happy Thanksgiving to all! I trust that you all enjoyed your family gatherings and gluttonous feasts. I probably should have posted this prior to Turkey Day instead of the day after, but we can use the Thanksgiving hindsight to better prepare for the remaining holidays of 2012.
What can your dogs eat from your holiday table?
• Turkey, ham, roast beef. Lean proteins are okay to share with your dogs in moderation. The meats themselves should not pose a problem to your dog’s system, unless you are already aware of a poultry allergy, which is common in some breeds. The problem to watch for is the seasoning. Too much salt can cause them some distress. Same as in people, too much salt can make dogs bloated and distended, and it can make them drink more water than usual. This could wreak havoc on your walk schedule and your sleep schedule (urgent need for an unscheduled middle of the night walk).
• Sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, biscuits. Dogs love carbs as much as we do. Again, exercise moderation. If you have the yummy browned baby marshmallows on top of your sweet potatoes, at least try to scrape them off the portion you give to the dog. The sugar is not good for them. They may not outwardly react to the sugar the way children do, but it will elevate their heart rates and their blood glucose levels and could be dangerous. Be mindful of how much salt and sugar you share with them. Also, if you want to give them bread, skip the butter. They don’t really take the time to taste it, and it is extra salt and fat that they don’t need.
• Green beans, brussel sprouts, and other veggies. Again, exercise moderation and common sense. Veggies, especially green ones, are really good for dogs, as they are not necessarily abundant in their regular diets. Be careful with the green bean casserole, as some dogs are lactose intolerant, and those canned soups some folks make the casserole with are high in sodium. Any steamed or boiled or roasted veggie you have on your table that your dog will eat is a giant green light.
• Desserts. As I said, most dogs will not bounce off the walls on a sugar high as children do. They will have quieter reactions that could be more dangerous if not kept in check. If you want to let the dog have a macaroon or a spoonful of pumpkin pie, that should be okay, but don’t give access to a whole pie.
One other note of caution: the holiday decorations. The day after Thanksgiving is usually when folks start putting out the Hanukkah and Christmas decorations. Remember that poinsettias are toxic, and tree needles can pose a choking hazard. Also, be careful of your connections for your holiday lights, as dogs are not always the most graceful of creatures when it comes to changes in their environment. They can easily trip over the lights and knock something part way out of the socket, which could pose electrocution or fire dangers.
Have a very safe and happy holiday season!
Jill McEnery is a former SLDogPAC board member. © 2012 Jill McEnery. This article originally appeared at Examiner.com.