Last year, Target had these lovely dog toy "bundles" that mimicked a holiday meal. I had friends in Albany pick one up for Elka, but never gave it to her, for whatever reason (okay, plush + Doberman = short lived, and it's just so cute!) But, today, I'm going to be a nerd and use it to illustrate human holiday meals and what they can mean for our dogs!
So, we have a decent and stereotypical Holiday spread here (Thanksgiving or Christmas, really), sans dessert.
Depending on what you feed your dog, you may already give her quite a lot in the way of grains, as illustrated by the dinner roll. Unless it's supposed to be a hot cross bun, in which case we do have dessert. If baking bread or rolls on Thanksgiving, make sure your dog doesn't ingest any raw yeast dough, which can expand in her stomach and cause pain and gastric distress. The potato isn't so bad, really, depending on quantity (and whether it's loaded with butter). A lot of people who feed their dogs grain free, but still go commercial, end up with a fish and potato brand.
Next we have the veggies: Corn and either broccoli or asparagus. Again, depending on what you feed your dog, she may eat a lot of corn. I mean lots and lots. In fact, if interested, you might hop over to Dog Food Analysis and check out how your dog's kibble measures up. It has its own "star" rating, but also includes why foods receive the scores that they do, and list ingredients. Corn on the cob may or may not be a choking hazard, and if you decide to give it to your dog, do so only with supervision and make sure very large pieces don't get swallowed to cause stomach upset later. Broccoli is all right, as long as it doesn't exceed 10% of your dog's daily diet; apparently there's a thing called "broccoli toxicity", with stomach upset starting at the 10% mark and the 25% mark having a possibility for fatality. That sounds pretty scary, and I'm going to try to find some peer reviewed sources to verify that at another time. Asparagus I'm less familiar with, but my understanding is that in large amounts, it can cause upset stomach (are we sensing a theme?)
And now, the star of dinner, turkey! Turkey itself is a fairly lean meat. The problem here is its "add-ons". NEVER feed your dog cooked bones, poultry or otherwise. NEVER. They have a high chance of splintering and perforating organs and other necessary things. My understanding is that folks who feed raw will give RAW, whole turkey to dogs and those bones are all right, but if you decide to feed raw, make sure to do your research and discuss with an animal nutritionist so that you know about the calcium-phosphorus ratios and all that good stuff. Turkey skin, in excess, can cause pancreatitis, the symptoms of which are things like vomiting, and in extreme severity can require hospitalization. You can read more about that here, as I'm already getting rather wordy, but feel it's important to highlight these things.
Then, dinner's over. Do you run out and play right away? Well, no. Most humans, after gorging themselves on Thanksgiving dinner, roll themselves to a chair or couch and watch football, or engage in long rambling conversations. For a dog, true exertion close to a meal can cause bloat, a swelling of the stomach caused by gas and such, that may involve torsion, and certainly involves an operation to the tune of $1500 or so, and even then, depending on how early it is caught, the chances of survival may not be so great. This is a video of a dog bloating, an Akita, not a Doberman. It's good education, on the sort of things to look for in a dog, but also pretty heartbreaking. The dog lived, so you know ahead of time. The "plate" that Elka's toy pack came on is a Frisbee (well, a Flying Disk), which I thought was very clever!
When confronted with her plate of Holiday Goodies, Elka wasn't really sure what to make of them. She was interested, certainly, but the whole package was a mystery.
Eventually, I took pity on her, and extricated the corn.
Eventually, the turkey followed suit. Elka really dug the turkey; it was interestingly shaped and textured, and the drumsticks are ropes! Elka loves ropes.
She had to make sure she wasn't missing out on anything, of course.
And, because I'm a meanie, I only let her play with them for a little while, so that they last longer than five minutes. The squeakers in them are actually rather hard (perhaps because they've cured for a year?) and don't squeak at the slightest touch, which is optimal for Elka, and poor for the survivability of the toys.
Have a safe and happy holiday, everybody!