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Pets enjoy Thanksgiving, too

Many people want include their pets Thanksgiving feast. The American Society for PreventiCruelty Animals offers some safety suggestions.  |

Many people want to include their pets in the Thanksgiving feast. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offers some safety suggestions. | file photo

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Thanksgiving and pets

When celebrating food-laden holidays with pets, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offers tips to keep those pets health.

Make sure turkey is boneless and well cooked. Raw and undercooked turkey may contain salmonella.

Sage and other herbs used in stuffing contain essential oils that, if eaten in large amounts, can cause gastrointestinal upset and depression, especially in cats.

Skip raw bread dough, as the heat from an animal’s stomach will cause the bread to rise. As the dough expands, the pet may experience severe pain and life-threatening vomiting and bloating.

Small bites of cooked turkey and a few licks of mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie are fine. Even better, add a few minced pieces of turkey, sweet potato and green beans to your pet’s regular meal.

Best of all, skip the human foods altogether and buy a prepared gourmet meal formulated just for pets.

Updated: December 21, 2012 6:08AM

Friends and family, abundant blessings and terrific food: Isn’t this what makes warm Thanksgiving memories?

Our furry companions may not consciously care about the first two, but all those mouth-watering smells in the kitchen are certainly not lost on them. How to safely include the pets in those festivities varies from owner to owner.

For instance, Vicki Baish of Plainfield usually offers her dogs Sophie, 6, and Billy, 1, a mere sampling of the feast, just some turkey and potatoes.

Colleen Robbins of Joliet prepares a little plate for Apache, her 2-year-old Irish setter mix.

“He gets a little turkey (no bones), some corn, mashed potatoes and a roll,” Robbins said. “He eats in the hallway, not in the same room people are eating.”

Buddy, who belongs to Donna Krofta of New Lenox, receives turkey, stuffing and veggies (no potatoes, since Krofta feels they are hard for dogs to digest) but he must earn his dinner by waiting patiently in the kitchen while the humans enjoy their meal first.

“If he complies he gets his Thanksgiving dinner,” Krofta said. “He’s usually pretty good; he knows the wait is worth it. Archie the cat is not so lucky.”

Archie, 5, has health problems so Krofta locks him in the laundry room during the grand banquet where he dines on his prescribed dinner.

Brenda Fronek’s cats would happily trade places with him.

Fronek’s Thanksgiving celebrations include many extended family members so Ollie Gidget 7, Bitsy June 3, and Boo Radley, 14 months — who are terrified of strangers — hide upstairs until the excitement has passed.

“The next day when everything settles down, I give them some dark meat turkey,” said Fronek of Joliet. “The carcass goes out for the birds to pick clean.”

Gracie, Jennifer Russ of Joliet’s parakeet, probably won’t pick at the turkey carcass, but Gracie will receive a Thanksgiving treat of some kind. Russ just isn’t certain yet what that treat will be.

“They sell candy for birds and I had to buy some for her at Halloween and she will get a new toy at Christmas,” Russ said. “I can’t let my feathered child go without.”

Other pet owners, such as English bulldog foster parent Sue Hovanes of Joliet, adopt a conservative approach when celebrating food-laden holidays. Bulldogs, Hovanes said, are notoriously allergic to grains, so that eliminates any nibbling on items such as stuffing and corn bread.

Furthermore, Hovanes believes that the bones, which can splinter, are dangerous to all dogs and that the rich and greasy skin will upset the canine tummies of Troubledog, 14; Maddie, 11; Elvis, 3; Tess, 3; and Bentley, 11 months.

“They might get a little of the white meat, if the humans don’t devour it all,” Hovanes said, “but the dogs eat after and separate from the humans, to deter begging.”

For information on safely feeding your pet this Thanksgiving, visit

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