Is Turkey Okay for Dogs? And How to Handle Holiday Travel with Your Pets

LAWRENCE, KAN. – November 27, 2019 — Ready or not, the holidays are here!

That means lots of human foods your dogs will be begging for and traveling to spend time with family or friends. Many pet owners can’t imagine spending the holidays without their furry friend. So, if you have a pet this holiday season, this guide from our furr-iends at Michelson Found Animals is for you!

First, check out their four steps you need to take to have a low-stress flight with your pet.

37 percent of pet owners travel with their pets every year. And we get it: bringing your treasured pet along can turn a good vacation or trip home into a great one. But to a pet owner who isn’t prepared, air travel can be intimidating — and even dangerous for your furry friend. Here are some practical tips for air travelers looking to bring their beloved pet on their next big adventure.

Preparation

So, you’ve made the decision to bring your pet along for the ride — now what?

You need your driver’s license to get through airport security — and your pet needs their identification, too! Ensure your pet wears an ID tag and collar at all times. Better yet, microchip your pet before you go — and register the chip with foundanimals.org. (It’s free!)

Make sure you have copies of your pet’s written documentation in case airplane staff requests to see it. Nothing puts a damper on your vacation like your furry friend getting kicked off the plane — so, make sure you’re familiar with the rules of the particular airline you’ll be flying before boarding.

Speaking of rules, you’ll also want to be prepared to go through airport security with your pet. Click here to check out the TSA’s regulations regarding the security screening of pets.

What to Pack

Even the best-trained pet may have an accident when overwhelmed! Don’t forget to bring along everything you need to clean up messes. We’re talking wet wipes, poop bags, puppy pads and anything else your pet needs to look and feel fresh.

Most in-flight snack carts aren’t designed with pets in mind, so you’ll need to pack your own food and bowls. You should also bring along treats to encourage good behavior, including a special snack for your pet to enjoy in-flight. Giving your pet their favorite reward on-board may ease their nerves before takeoff — and keep them quiet while munching away.

Just in case your pet becomes distressed in-flight, keep a sedative medication on hand to soothe your little buddy’s nerves. Visit your vet to get a prescription well before your trip to avoid any last-minute mishaps or embarrassing emergencies.

The Airport

Scout out relief areas prior to boarding. Since there’s no in-flight bathroom for animals, you’ll want to make sure your pet goes before takeoff to minimize the potential for any accidents.

If your pet can tolerate a carrier (and is small enough to fit in one), carrying them may be easier than walking them through airport crowds. You may also want to check your luggage for one less thing to carry while searching for your gate.

However, if you do decide to walk your pet, make sure your pet is leashed and under your control at all times. Bad behavior reflects on not only you, but also on other pet owners at the airport!

The Plane

We’re animal lovers — but not everybody is a fan! Your seat-mates may be allergic to your pet, so check with them before sitting down. If there’s a conflict, the flight attendants will be happy to find you another seat.

To avoid squirming, keep your pet as close to you as possible — and practice helpful commands like “lay down” and “stay” before you go. If your pet is whining or clearly uncomfortable, you may want to administer the sedative prescribed to them by your vet, both for your sake and the sake of others around you.

With these tips, your pet’s flight will hopefully be just as smooth as yours! For more tips on pet safety, visit Michelson Found Pet’s Resource Center at foundanimals.org.

Is Turkey Safe for Your Pets?

The gastronomic holiday of the year is here — Thanksgiving! Meat eaters will be drooling over the turkey and so will your pet. But is turkey really safe your pet? Here are the ins and outs of feeding your pet turkey this Thanksgiving, again from our furr-iends at Michelson Found Pets.

Thanksgiving is the ultimate foodie holiday. For meat lovers, prepping the bird can be a matter of great pride, and what you do with the leftovers can be too. From turkey casseroles, to soups, or pot pies, there’s no shortage of food following a grand Thanksgiving feast!

The delicious smells that fill your house make pets crazy, and you’ll likely find them hovering in the kitchen more than usual on turkey day. With so much food, it can be very tempting to give our pets table scraps or even make a plate of fixings and turkey for your dog and cat so they can join us. After all, they are our best friends and a part of the family!

So, is turkey safe? Yes and No. Let us break it down for you!

Raw vs Cooked

Because dogs are omnivores and cats are carnivores, meat is an essential part of their natural diet. For cats and dogs, turkey is a lean meat that is a key ingredient in many pet foods. Plain, unseasoned, boneless, skinless turkey is safe for cats and dogs in small amounts. While you can give raw turkey to your pets, you increase their risk of bacterial contamination, like contracting salmonella. Raw meat is also not recommended for puppies, dogs with cancer, and dogs with liver or kidney disease. Feeding a raw diet to cats, however, cat help provide the extra taurine they need as carnivores. The dark meat, heart, and liver of turkeys contain higher levels of taurine. Plain, cooked turkey is safest for dogs and cats in general.

The Skinny on Seasonings

Almost every human food you are tempted to feed your pet contains spices and seasonings that may taste amazing to us, but can cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal issues for our furry friends. If you’re lucky, your Thanksgiving turkey is slathered with butter, salt and pepper before it’s put on your plate. Stuffing is also filled with spices and other ingredients that may be bad for your pet.

For example, onions are often added to stuffing and they are toxic to both dogs and cats, causing damage to their red blood cells. Garlic, which is in the onion family, is also toxic to pets in large amounts. The last thing you want to do on Turkey Day for your dog is clean up after them in front of your guests or worse, take them to the vet. If the food is heavily seasoned and your dog has displayed stomach issues in the past, play it safe and don’t feed it to your pets.

Turkey Skin & Fat

Whether your family is cooking up a turkey, ham, or prime rib roast for Thanksgiving, there will be plenty of fat clinging to the good stuff. In turkey, the main source of fat is the skin. While you may trim your food of fat before you eat it, you know your cat or dog would love to gobble down your tasty fat morsels. Remember fat = flavor!

Be careful to dispose of fat where your pets can’t reach it. A big fatty meal can cause disastrous results in the form of pancreatitis. Pancreatitis can cause immediate symptoms of fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. It requires immediate vet attention and it can progress rapidly without treatment into a potentially fatal condition.

So, Can Dogs Eat Turkey Bones?

Dogs and bones go together, right? Well, not so fast. Poultry bones, like that of turkey, chicken, and duck, are fragile and splinter easily, especially when cooked. Even rib and pork bones will splinter.

The bone fragments can cause many GI problems for both dogs and cats. Pieces of bone can puncture the digestive tract or cause tears, internal bleeding, and bacterial infections. Bones can cause blockages that may need to be surgically removed in costly procedures.

Remember, cats and dogs can’t eat turkey bones. Always trim turkey for dogs and cats away from the bone!

A Turkey Thanksgiving Recipe for Pets

As a general rule when feeding your pets home-cooked meals, keep it simple. If you want some safe turkey for your dogs or cats to enjoy on Thanksgiving with you, grab some ground turkey meat. Since cats are carnivores, you can just cook it plain and feed it to them in limited amounts. For dogs, boil it together with some plain white rice. The meat will flavor the rice and it will be easy on their stomach. They will even have leftovers to enjoy with you over the next few days.

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