Thanksgiving dinner dangers for your dog

Everyone loves Thanksgiving. For many of us, it's our favorite holiday of the year. The food, the fellowship, and all the excitement of the day help make memories that last a lifetime. But for our dogs, the food we enjoy on Thanksgiving can be a dangerous threat. Many of the foods we prepare for our holiday feast can be toxic to our dogs.

A Simple Thing like Stuffing

My favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner is the stuffing. But for your dog, stuffing could send them to the emergency vet. Some ingredients that are commonly used in stuffing recipes are toxic to dogs.

* Raisins - It is not known exactly why raisins and grapes are toxic to dogs. However, there have been many documented cases where they have caused poisoning. Even in small amounts, they can be very dangerous. Symptoms to watch for are vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and loss of appetite. Ultimately, it can lead to kidney failure and death.

* Macadamia nuts - Many recipes for stuffing use nuts, and around the holidays, macadamia nuts are often used. These, too, are toxic for our dogs. The amount of macadamia nuts a dog has to eat to be poisoned varies greatly, but in some cases can be very small. Symptoms can include ataxia (wobbliness), muscle tremors, and vomiting.

The Thanksgiving Toast

Alcohol, even in small amounts, can be toxic to dogs. It can cause harm either through ingestion or by absorbing through the skin. That spilled glass of can have dire effects if Fido gets to it before you do. Symptoms can take up to a half an hour to present, and can range from depression to over-activity. In extreme cases it can cause a heart attack and even death.

Dessert and Coffee

There's nothing like a piece of pie or cake with coffee to top off your Thanksgiving dinner. But both chocolate and caffeine are poisonous to dogs. Chocolate is made from the roasted seeds of Theobroma cacao, which contain two substances toxic to dogs: caffeine and theobromine. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, muscle rigidity and rapid breathing.

In all cases where you suspect your dog might have eaten or come in contact with something that is toxic, you should call your local emergency vet. Another option is to call the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center. That number is (888) 426-4435. Be aware that a $65 fee may apply. The best treatment, however, is prevention. Be sure to take extra precautions on Thanksgiving to ensure your family - including your dog - has a safe and rewarding holiday.

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