I’m the first to say that pets are family, too! In fact, our tagline has always been, “Because They’re Family!”

Yes, this often means some snacks or doggie-bags from restaurants or licking the remains off my plate. I’m guilty, for sure! I mean, those eyes… right?

Although a piece of grilled chicken or left-over vegetables are one thing, but food high in fat could potentially cause illness in your pet, both dogs and cats. Thanksgiving and the holidays are full of fatty foods that have the potential to contribute to a flare of pancreatitis which can cause the organ to become irritated or inflamed. This causes it to stop working properly and can cause significant health problems for them. (Although I don’t wish to scare you, in severe cases, it can even be fatal.)

The symptoms of pancreatitis may look like other illnesses and often include throwing up, diarrhea, and lethargy. Left untreated, however, it can become very serious and this is when it could even take a pet’s life.  Food is not the only contributor to this disease, but it is one that pet owners can take precautions with to help prevent… like skipping the gravy and skin from Thanksgiving dinner. Other high fat foods to skip include buttered or creamy sauces, dairy, and anything fried.  Of course, this is in addition to the other general “no-no” foods to cross off your pet’s menu like onions, raisins/grapes and some nuts that often find their way into stuffing recipes.  (Xylitol is a very toxic ingredient found in some sugar substitutes and peanut butters, and that is very toxic for even small doses.) 

I know how difficult it is to refuse those eyes and the overall cuteness factor of our furry family! This is not meant to dampen your “treats” to them as part of your gatherings but to raise awareness of what foods to definitely skip. The Sergei Foundation has seen its share of pancreatitis cases; I’m hoping a friendly reminder around the holidays will prevent you and your family from having an unforeseen emergency that can require days of hospital stays, fluids, and sometimes feeding tubes from what would otherwise be a joyous occasion and season. 

Want to learn more about pancreatitis? I found this website link (which is going to be similar for cats as well) or simply search online. 


By Karen Fullerton, Founder/CEO The Sergei Foundation