Thanksgiving and Pets

Thanksgiving and Pets

Party risks:

During the Thanksgiving holiday season where “friends-giving” events and holiday festivities are not uncommon, it’s important to take extra precaution in keeping your pets safe. One of the most hazardous factors commonly found in holiday parties are festive decorations which consist of tinsel, ribbons, floral arrangements, decorative plants, etc. Consuming table decorations and large amounts of plant fiber can result in poisoning, digestive health issues, and even gastrointestinal injury. 

Activities with your pet:

While there are many health risks for your furry friends at Thanksgiving parties, it shouldn’t prevent them from getting into the holiday spirit. In the midst of this chaotic time, there are many chill activities you and your pet can partake in that are both safe and enjoyable: this includes a pet-friendly thanksgiving feast, hiking, playing dress up, or playing ball games. Even planning a local festive getaway with your pet may be a good option. When traveling across international borders though, it’s important to ensure that they are permitted on transportation systems and have proper identification in case of an emergency. 

Toxic foods to your pet:

Onions, garlic, shallots, leeks and chives are all part of the Allium spp genus and can cause blood cell damage in dogs and cats. Ham, bacon or poultry skin products are high in fact which can result in pancreatitis, upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea. Dairy products, used in dishes like mashed potatoes, can also cause the same symptoms because adult dogs and cats lack the enzyme lactase to break down lactose. Grapes/raisins and other desserts with artificial sweeteners can cause kidney or liver failure as well. Be sure to keep your pets safe from these foods so that both you and your pet can have a happy thanksgiving!

Pet-friendly thanksgiving treats:

Leftover turkey meatballs, dehydrated/dried green beans, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie dog biscuits, and turkey bone broth are all safe and tasty treats for pets! Many vendors sell Thanksgiving related treats online as well, though DIY recipes have gotten far more popular over the years.

Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Pet Cancer Awareness Month

History of Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Cancer in pets has been documented since the very first domesticated animals in Egypt in 1600 B.C. The invention of the microscope in 1590 brought about a greater awareness for cancer in both pets and humans, however progress in developing treatment methods remained slow. But, in the 1960s, a few veterinarians pioneered the creation of the field of clinical veterinary oncology which has since grown rapidly over the past couple decades. The first National Pet Cancer Awareness Month was marked in 2005 and was officially declared to raise money and awareness to aid in the fight against cancer in pets.

What are the common types of cancer in pets?

Lymphoma/Lymphosarcoma: an encompassing term for cancer that originates from white blood cells called lymphocytes. The most common types of lymphoma in dogs are multicentric, alimentary, mediastinal and extranodal lymphoma. 

Mast Cell Tumors: occur in the skin or just underneath the skin and can be occasionally found in the eyes, mouth, throat, and spine.

Melanoma: frequently bening and easily treated but can turn malignant and spread quickly.

Osteosarcoma (Bone Cancer): often found in the larger or longer bones of a dog and are more likely to occur in larger breed dogs including dobermans, boxers, golden retrievers, German shepherds, Irish wolfhounds, rottweilers, and weimaraners.

Hemangiosarcoma: are very serious and require emergency intervention. They can grow anywhere blood vessels are present including organs such as the heart and lungs.

Fibrosarcoma: a slow spreading form of cancer. Treatment options usually only include amputation or radiation treatment.

What are some signs of cancer to look for in my pet?

There are many different kinds of cancer, so depending on the type and location of the illness, the cancer signs may vary. However, if your pet showcases any physical or behavioral symptoms, this may be a sign of cancer. Some of the common symptoms to look out for in your pet include loss of stamina, diarrhea,  difficulty breathing, and unusual swelling which could be a sign of swollen lymph nodes or cancer tumors. Other warning signs that may not be as apparent are unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, foul odor, and difficulty with stool or urination.

How can I reduce the risk of cancer in my pets?

Unfortunately, all pets are at a risk for this disease as cancer in animals is not uncommon, and statistics reveal that about four in ten dogs will develop cancerous conditions sometime in their life. According to the Veterinary Cancer Society, older dogs are even more likely to acquire this illness as it is the leading cause of death in dogs older than ten years old. While there is no definitive way to avoid this devastating disease, simply attending regular veterinary checkups, monitoring your pet for cancerous symptoms, and maintaining a healthy diet and exercise regimen are helpful steps that can greatly reduce your pet’s risk of cancer.