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Denver Animal Protection is reminding pet owners to be cautious with their furry family members this Thanksgiving as the festive food and crowds can lead to dangerous environments for pets.

“Our dogs and cats are part of the family, so on Thanksgiving and during the holidays, you may be tempted to include them in the celebration," Denver Animal Protection said in an announcement Monday. “Keep your pets healthy and happy this holiday season.”

Dr. Louisa Poon, a veterinarian with Denver Animal Protection, said most Thanksgiving foods can upset a pet’s stomach, or worse, result in health emergencies.

To avoid a vet visit this holiday season, Poon said pet owners should not feed animals the following treats:

  • Bread dough — Dough can rise in an animal’s stomach, causing bloating, pain and vomiting.
  • Cake batter — Raw eggs in batter can harbor harmful bacteria.
  • Onion and garlic — These contain sulfides toxic to animals in large amounts. They can destroy red blood cells and cause toxic anemia, especially for cats.
  • Sage — Sage contains essential oils and resins that can cause intestinal and central nervous system depression in animals, especially cats.
  • Raisins and grapes — These can cause kidney damage or failure in animals, even after just a single serving.
  • Walnuts and macadamia nuts — These can cause weakness, depression, incoordination and tremors in animals, as well as pancreatitis in dogs.
  • Chocolate — Chocolate can be toxic and even fatal for animals. Dark and unsweetened baking chocolates are especially toxic.
  • Xylitol — The artificial sweetener xylitol can cause a drop in blood glucose in dogs, resulting in depression, loss of coordination, seizures, liver damage and possible death.
  • Avocados — Avocados can cause heart, lung and tissue damage for dogs.
  • Beer — Alcohol, especially the hops in beer, can be harmful to dogs, causing intoxication, panting, fever, racing heart, liver damage, coma, seizures and possible death.
  • Caffeine — Any coffee, tea or caffeinated product is not safe for animals’ central nervous and cardiac systems.

Poon also reminds pet owners to keep animals away from their holiday garbage to avoid pets eating any of these toxic foods on their own.

Festive foods that are safe for pets to eat in small amounts include cooked turkey without skin, gravy and bones, cooked or canned pumpkin and cooked vegetables like sweet potatoes, green beans and squash.

In addition to food, Denver Animal Protection said pet owners should prepare their animals for large holiday gatherings by exercising pets before events, slowly introducing pets to guests and providing distractions for pets like toys and treats.

If a pet ingests something harmful over the holidays, Denver Animal Protection said owners should call their vet immediately or call the 24/7 pet poison hotline at 888-426-4435 run by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

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