From sharing Thanksgiving food to dangerous decorations, here are tips from a Raleigh vet on keeping pets safe this holiday season

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Pets have been a huge benefit to many of us during the pandemic.

Animal adoption numbers have run high since spring.

But even pet lovers can inadvertently harm their dogs or cats over the holiday season.

From your decorations to the food on your table, dangers abound for your animal companions during the holidays.

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It starts with the Thanksgiving feast.

"They look up at you with those mournful eyes like, 'Please, please, please', right? 'Give me something.' And so it's really hard to not give them something," Raleigh veterinarian Joe Gordon told ABC11.

Gordon, who runs three Care First Animal Hospitals in Wake County, said a morsel or two of turkey or other meats are okay.

Just don't overdo it he added, saying, "They're not making a meal of the Thanksgiving feast, okay? It's just a treat for them after they eat their regular food."

Gordon noted that too much fat in your pet's diet can cause pancreatitis or gastritis. Bones for your dog, especially from poultry, are also a no-no.

"If it's a turkey, or a duck or chicken, and a dog grabs those bones, they're going to bite into them and they're going to splinter and cause more irritation in the stomach or the small intestine," Gordon said.

Most pet owners know some foods like chocolate are downright deadly. But did you know other common foods used during the holidays can also be lethal?

"Raisins and grapes, they can be toxic to dogs also. They can cause acute kidney failure in some dogs," Gordon said. "So we want to be careful about those. And also our bulbs, like our onions and our garlic. Those types of food can cause an acute aplastic anemia in dogs."

Even food wrappers and that plastic pop-up that shows you your turkey is done can be a problem.

"Those still smell really good, you know, to our dogs and our cat friends. And very commonly, they'll get into the trash can and eat those things when our backs turned," Gordon said.

Then there are holiday decorations like a heavy Christmas tree which needs to be tethered for stability Gordon noted.

"Cats do like to climb trees and dogs like to jump up on them," said Gordon. "So you need to make certain your trees are secure."

Dr. Gordon's dog once ate the popcorn strings off his tree and the thread that held them together could have caused an intestinal obstruction.

Tinsel on your tree can do the same thing if ingested. Also, some live decorations like poinsettias can be toxic.

So at a time when animal companionship is more important than ever, Gordon said, make sure the holidays don't adversely affect your furry creatures.

"Be very careful with them about what they might eat or chew on and enjoy the holidays."

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