Today is November 21st, also known as National Stuffing Day! The first mention of stuffing was actually in the Roman cookbook, Apicius De Re Coquinaria, and now, National Stuffing Day is observed annually. Traditional Thanksgiving stuffing is made with dried bread, onions, celery, seasonings, spices, and herbs. Many people also put meat or giblets from animals into the mixture as well. Stuffing received its name due to the fact that the ingredients are often stuffed into an animal or other foods, like turkey, chicken, or pork.
While most people think of stuffing as the food associated with Thanksgiving Day, there is another kind of stuffing that we would like to touch on as well. You know, the kind that fills your dog’s favorite plush toys! Keep reading to learn more about these two different kinds of stuffing, and what is safe for your pet.
Thanksgiving Stuffing Is Toxic For Pets
Thanksgiving stuffing is frequently made with onions, scallions, or garlic, all of which are extremely dangerous for dogs and cats. These ingredients can cause anemia, a life-threatening destruction of the red blood cells.
Garlic, belonging to the Allium family (which also includes onion, chives, and leeks), is poisonous to dogs and cats. Garlic is also considered to be five times as potent as onions and leeks, and certain breeds of animals are more sensitive. Toxic doses can cause damage to red blood cells and lead to anemia, as well as gastrointestinal trouble such as abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms of garlic poisoning can take days to appear, so be on the lookout for any changes in your pet’s behavior.
Onions, also an ingredient often found in stuffing, contain a toxic principle known as N-propyl disulfide. This compound causes the destruction of red blood cells and also leads to anemia in dogs. The component N-propyl disulfide reduces the ability of the red blood cells to carry oxygen and makes your dog’s body to believe that the blood cells are foreign objects. If your dog consumes onion, look for signs of lethargy, weakness, pale gums, fainting, loss of appetite, and reddish urine. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your pet has consumed onions, scallions, or garlic.
Wondering what your pet can eat at Thanksgiving instead? Your pet can eat turkey that is unseasoned and without the skin, but only if you know that turkey agrees with your pet’s digestive system. Make sure not to give your dog any turkey from the Thanksgiving feast, as the skin and seasonings can be toxic. Additionally, remove any bones to prevent a choking hazard or potential obstruction in your pet’s body.
That Other Kind of Stuffing- The White Fluff in Toys
While we’re on the topic of stuffing, let’s talk about the fluff that is inside of most dog and cat toys. Most pet owners are all too familiar with the fluff that comes out of a toy once a dog rips it open during playtime. Within minutes, your once clean floor is now covered in white, plush stuffing. So what are those fluff balls made of? Most are made of polyester fiberfill. Polyester is a type of plastic, and a polyester fiberfill is basically plastic that has been formulated into strands or fibers that are used as stuffing for toys. Some polyester fiber fills will be treated with a silicone coating to make the material more resistant to bacteria and dust. This is a quality that many prefer, especially in stuffed toys.
While we often think that plastic is not the healthiest or best material, this polyester fiberfill is considered relatively safe for use in toys. This does not mean by any means that your dog should eat the stuffing, however, it is probably okay if they chew on it. The polyester fiberfill can get stuck in your pet’s digestive tract, so it is best practice to clean up the fluff as soon as it is shredded on your floor. If ingested, the material may cause vomiting, stomach pain, tiredness, constipation, diarrhea, and a loss of appetite. A blockage may be partial and may take hours, as digestion can take quite some time.
If your dog has managed to eat and swallow some of the stuffing from a toy, you must respond quickly. If your pet is showing signs of a blockage, make your way immediately to the veterinarian’s office. Bring the toy with you in case the vet needs to see the material that your pet has ingested. Your vet may be able to remove the obstruction if there are pieces still lodged in the throat or stomach. However, if pieces are in the intestines, your vet will either recommend surgery or to wait for the material to pass naturally.