By Nan Talleno

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – This holiday, don’t forget to include among your many blessings, your canine and feline companions, for all the unconditional love and joy they provide every day. But resist any temptation to share your holiday feast. Keep in mind that they simply cannot digest the same foods that we can effectively. Do your companion animals a favor and offer them healthy, nutritious treats instead.

At this time of year, most veterinarians see an increase in stomach problems and pancreatitis, a serious condition caused by inflammation of the pancreas. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain and it can become chronic with serious side effects. Another danger to watch for is bloat, especially in larger dogs, a serious condition resulting from an expansion of the stomach from a build-up of gasses that can quickly become fatal within minutes. Symptoms include restlessness, a swollen stomach, whining, shallow breathing and an inability to lie down.

Never give your dog any type of poultry bone such as chicken or turkey bones, as it can easily splinter and cause numerous health problems from intestinal blockage to possibly fatal consequences as a choking hazard.

Keep both dogs and cats away from all the rich foods, especially onions, raisins, grapes and chocolate which is hazardous to both dogs and cats and can cause seizures. Store leftovers securely in containers, keep trash covered and dispose of garbage quickly to avoid their temptation to nibble.

Keep your vet’s number and the number of a twenty-four hour emergency clinic nearby as a precaution. In this way, you can make sure that everyone has a safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving.