Pets need special looking out for during upcoming holidays

It is tempting to slip Fido a piece of meat or other holiday goodie under the table while the rest of the family indulges in a sumptuous Thanksgiving feast.

However, veterinarians caution pet owners to be careful about what they give their pets during the holiday.

"Dogs can become very sick with intestinal disease if they are allowed to eat the wrong kinds of foods," said veterinarian Richard Burrows.

"Symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea caused by feeding pets too many goodies."

It is OK to give the pooch a bite or two of lean turkey, peas or green beans.

"But stay away from the skin, fat or the gravy," Burrows said.

"And of course the bones are not good either."

When the pancreas is forced to work too hard is can cause it to become inflamed, causing pancreatitis, a serious illness.

"Every year we see too may cases of sick pets with intestinal disease, and even the more serious cases of pancreatitis, which can be life-threatening - all caused by eating leftover meat or fatty treats.

Be sure to keep their treats small," Burrows explained.

Burrows, who is a pet owner, said fatty foods and desserts, especially chocolate, should not be given to a dog.

"Fatty meats can be harmful.

Ham is particularly bad - it is too rich for a dog.

Even roasts can be too rich.

One bite of lean turkey will not harm a dog, but more than that can also be harmful," he said.

"The same applies to chocolate.

Although one small bite probably won't hurt a dog - a large amount will."

Burrows said pet owners should also be careful about where they dispose of the turkey carcass when they are done with the meal.

"Those types of bones are not good for dogs.

Turkey bones can splinter and steak bones are sharp.

Rawhide chew bones are the only safe kinds of bones," he said.

The Arizona Veterinary Medical Association encourages pet owners to maintain the pets' regular schedule, including amount and timing of food, quiet time, frequency and duration of exercises, and the amount of attention given to pets during the holidays.

Beware of holiday goodies left out on counters and table - they can be tempting to pets, and watch out for chocolate which is poisonous to a dog, according to the association.

Guests are likely to cause stress and disruption to an animal's routine and are prone to giving treats to pets.

In addition, unsupervised children may injure small animals and pets may be stepped on or escape through opened doors, states information from the association.

"Pets are not garbage disposals for holiday leftovers.

Don't give your pets any people food or table food," states the information.

Kingman veterinarian Paula Acer said pet owners should be especially careful about letting their animals stay outside in cold winter weather during the upcoming holidays.

"When its cold out, and freezing cold wind combines with already low temperatures, it's hard on them," Acer said.

"Be aware that pets need shelter to get into, or leave them inside.

At least make sure that the animal has some refuge from the cold, such as a dog house, shed or a garage."

Check requirements for an adequate water supply, and make sure that the water is put somewhere where it doesn't freeze," she added.