Holiday pet health hazards- Thanksgiving bone- don't give a dog a bone

Thanksgiving is at our doorstep and the aroma of the feast is in the air. Families gather for the holiday as houses fill with guests of all ages and cultures. In some cases, four- legged family members are brought along, adding the finishing touch to the celebration of gratitude. Food is in abundance, including traditional dishes... and the turkey! 

Dogs like turkey, too. Big and tall, small and agile, fat and clumsy, they all have a special way of getting to the turkey. Some will snatch a bone from the table, some will find one in the garbage after everybody has gone to bed, and some will take advantage of the giving mood and present a pair of irresistible begging eyes under the table. Don't forget grandma and cousins who sometimes have minds of their own and offer bones to the dogs. 

Whatever the case, turkey bones for pets must be avoided. Long bone fragments (legs, wings, etc.) can injure any part of the digestive system. They can create internal wounds, ulcers, bleeding and perforation of the stomach and intestines; all serious and sometimes life threatening problems. A scratch in the esophagus can result in permanent stricture and lifelong swallowing difficulty or regurgitation. Short bones and small fragments can collect at the rectum or other segment and cause serious impaction and constipation. The bones are abrasive and injure the delicate intestinal wall, resulting in bleeding, pain and sometimes more serious trauma. Every serious injury facilitates bacterial infections that further complicate the situation. 

Please instruct all family and guests not to give bones to the dog. Make sure garbage is hidden and protected. If necessary, keep the dogs away. Avoid having to make a visit to the veterinary emergency room on Thanksgiving night. Have a happy holiday!

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