Pet Corner: Give thanks, not leftovers

It is Thanksgiving again.

Does your family sit at the kitchen table and go around to let each family member say what they are thankful for this past year? This year don’t forget to give thanks for your pets.

I am sure if our pets could talk they would certainly tell you how thankful they are to have you.

Without you, they would be without food, a cozy place to sleep and the companionship they long for.

They really don’t ask for much. A simple pat on the head, toss of a ball or maybe a belly rub will suffice for most canines.

Shaking a feather toy, shining a laser light or simply holding and petting will satisfy the majority of our feline companions.

What would we do without the wonderful and special opportunity to have loving, devoted and dedicated pets to keep us company? I know our family would not be complete without them.

Their unconditional love and laughable personalities would leave a huge void in our house if they were not there.

As I have said many times, they are a part of the family. They just don’t have the ability to fully show their appreciation of their family.

Sure, a tail wag or lick on the cheek is a decent gesture, but if only they could speak.

The problem is pets’ lifespans are too short. If we are fortunate enough to live a normal life expectancy, we will see several furry family members pass on.

How could someone be thankful for the past year if they have lost a loving pet? Memories.

We can be thankful for all the wonderful years and good times a pet who has passed has allowed us to experience.

If they could talk, I think most pets would tell us to keep their fond memories close to our hearts and let go of any negative thoughts of disease or accidents. I like to give thanks for the pets we have as well as those awesome memories of our deceased pets.

The one thing I won’t be doing this Thanksgiving is sharing the leftovers with Sapphy and Marlo. Sapphy, our golden retriever, has to eat only prescription hypoallergenic food to prevent skin inflammation since she has severe food allergies. Any protein she ingests other than what is in her prescription dog food will likely cause her problems.

She does not know what she can or cannot eat. She would gobble down turkey without chewing it, no pun intended. Within a couple of days, she would have severe itchy skin.

Marlo is a typical Yorkie with a very sensitive gastrointestinal tract. It only takes a tiny amount of human food for our four-pound spitfire terror … terrier … to become sick. She would likely have vomiting, diarrhea or both.

Anyone who owns a little dog less than five pounds knows how pitiful they are when they are sick.

The first couple of days after Thanksgiving are inevitably busy days for most veterinarians. It never fails.

We experience countless phone calls and appointments with dogs and cats paying the price for enjoying the tasty Thanksgiving dinner leftovers.

Of course, almost every dog and cat loves the taste of turkey, dressing and especially gravy.

Usually, it does not like them.

Gastritis, enteritis, colitis and pancreatitis are the primary conditions seen right after Thanksgiving.

Some cases are mild stomach upset, however many cases are serious and possibly life threatening.

The point is you are not always making your pet happy by feeding them human food. Sometimes, certain pets may become very ill simply from eating your Thanksgiving leftovers.

This year, giving thanks should include our pets.

We should not include our pets when it comes to finishing off the notorious leftovers.

This year, refrain from feeding people food to your pets to help ensure they live a long, healthy and happy life.

Dr. Jeff Castle is a veterinarian at Clark County Veterinary Clinic.