Avoiding gastrointestinal upset on Thanksgiving

Foods to Avoid


Stuffing is often made with onions or scallions which are toxic to dogs and cats and can cause life threatening anemia.

Large amounts of bread

Large amounts of bread can cause distention of the stomach leading to a “food bloat”. When this happens, we often see abdominal pain, distension, panting, pacing, gas expulsion (via burping or farting), nausea, +/- vomiting or diarrhea. Some dogs require hospitalization and IV fluids to help “move things along”. Make sure to keep the dinner rolls well out of reach to avoid this problem.


Ham and other fatty meats can cause pancreatitis, upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea.

Turkey bones

Bones can cause severe indigestion in pets. They can cause vomiting, diarrhea and sometimes gastrointestinal obstruction. In some cases sharp pieces of bone can puncture the GI tract causing life threating infection.

Salads with grapes/raisins

Grapes and Raisins are toxic to dogs. Grape toxicity can cause fatal kidney failure so be sure to keep these dishes out of reach!


The rule of thumb with chocolate is “The darker the chocolate, the more toxic”. Keep all chocolate out of reach of pets.

If your pet ingests any of these items call the office or animal poison control immediately! Poison Control – 1-800-222-1222

What to do if your pet develops GI upset after Thanksgiving

If your pet is lethargic, not eating or vomits multiple times call the office. The following instructions are for mild cases of GI upset ONLY, when in doubt, call the office.


Remove your pet’s normal food and do not give any treats or leftovers. If your pet is vomiting remove food for 24 hours, but leave water out and accessible. If the vomiting does not resolve- call the office. If the vomiting does resolve you may move on to feeding a bland diet:

The bland diet

1. A bland diet consists of a protein and a carbohydrate.
2. The meat must be boiled, and prepared with no oils or spices. Boiled skinless boneless chicken or turkey, pan fried and thoroughly drained ground beef and unseasoned scrambled eggs are all good choices for protein. You can also purchase canned chicken or chicken baby food.
3. The carbohydrate can consist of boiled white rice, sweet potato or mashed potatoes.
4. Combine ingredients in a 2:1 ratio of starch to meat (e.g., 2 cups rice to 1 cup meat). Cooked diets may be refrigerated for several days or frozen for long term storage.
5. Feed your pet small amounts throughout the day.
6. Feed this diet for 2-3 days, if the diarrhea does not resolve after this amount of time-call the office. After 2-3 days you may begin to SLOWLY transition your pet back to their regular food. Start by mixing ½ regular food and ½ bland diet then slowly increase the amount of regular food and decrease the bland food over the course of the next 5 days.

If your pet’s symptoms return, call the office.

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