Thanksgiving Tips: Help Keep Your Pet Safe This Holiday

By October 13, 2020 October 15th, 2020 Blog

Can you believe it’s almost Thanksgiving? We are more than ready to celebrate one of our favorite holidays, but first, we wanted to share some pet safety tips to keep in mind. That way, you and your whole family can relax and enjoy the holiday.

Keep Your Pet Away From Dangerous Foods

You may be tempted to share your Thanksgiving fare with your pet, but some of the food we consume during this holiday is dangerous for dogs and cats. Table scraps in particular can cause serious issues, including pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), in pets.

Here’s a list of (foods and drinks) you should avoid feeding your pet:

Alcohol—Beer, wine, and liquor, as well as foods that contain alcohol, can cause breathing difficulty and even depression of the central nervous system in dogs and cats, which can be deadly.

Anything caffeinated—A stimulant found in coffee, coffee grounds, tea, soda, energy drinks, and chocolate, caffeine can cause hyperactivity, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and seizures in pets.

Baked goods—Cakes, pies, and other baked goods may contain the sweetener xylitol, which can cause seizures and lead to liver failure in pets. Many baked goods intended for human consumption also contain a lot of sugar and salt, both of which are bad for pets.

Bones—Raw or cooked, bones are dangerous for dogs and cats; they can break teeth, cause oral lacerations, get stuck in a pet’s throat, or even puncture the esophagus or intestine, which can be deadly.

Bread dough—Unbaked dough can rise in the stomach, causing bloating and gastric dilatation and volvulus, a life-threatening condition.

Chocolate—Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both stimulants that are toxic to dogs and cats. The darker the chocolate, the greater the danger.

Fatty foods—Fat trimmings, bacon, ham, and turkey skin can cause gastrointestinal upset and possibly pancreatitis, which can be fatal.

Garlic, onions, shallots, scallions, leeks, and chives—These members of the genus Allium in any form (raw, cooked, dried, dehydrated, powdered, etc.) are toxic to cats and dogs.

Grapes and raisins—This fruit, whether fresh or dried, can cause kidney failure in pets.

Macadamia nuts—Although nuts of any kind contain a lot of fat and pose a risk of pancreatitis in pets, macadamia nuts are particularly poisonous to dogs.

Pie—Even though plain pumpkin and apples may be safe to use as treats in moderation for most dogs and cats, pie is far from a healthy treat for pets. It typically contains sugar, salt, and other spices that aren’t good for pets, and it may contain xylitol as well (see below).

Seasoned turkey or other meat—If you want to treat your pet to a taste of turkey, it’s probably best to do it on a day that isn’t Thanksgiving. Cooked turkey (without the skin) is generally safe to give pets in small amounts, but only if it hasn’t been seasoned, salted (brined), or butter basted, which is unlikely during the holiday.

Xylitol—This sweetener commonly found in baked goods, candies, nut butters, and even toothpaste is toxic to pets.

Help keep your pet from getting into these items unexpectedly by:

  • Asking guests to keep their plates and drinks out of your pet’s reach.
  • Covering snacks and other food if it’s sitting out.
  • Covering or putting away food right after a meal.

Call us right away if you think your pet has consumed something toxic. During off-hours or over the holiday, you can call the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661 or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 (a fee will be charged).

Decorate With Pet-Friendly Flowers

Flower arrangements and centerpieces may enhance the festive feel of the holiday, but decorate with your pet in mind by avoiding toxic plants, such as amaryllis, azaleas, chrysanthemums, hydrangeas, and lilies. Choose pet-safe plant options instead: African violets, orchids, prayer plants (Calathea insignis), and roses are all safe decorative choices for homes with pets.

Make Sure Your Pet Has a Collar With ID Tags

If you’re planning to have guests over for Thanksgiving, it’s especially important to make sure your pet is wearing a collar with up-to-date identification. Getting your dog or cat microchipped will also add an extra layer of protection, just in case your pet manages to slip out a door during the celebration.

Give Your Pet a Safe Space

Even if you’re just having your close family over to enjoy Thanksgiving together, all of the excitement may be overwhelming for some pets. It’s a good idea to provide even the most social of animals a safe space away from the holiday gathering and guests.

Give your pet access to a room or area away from the action, where people aren’t permitted, and make sure your guests know that the space is off-limits to them. If your cat or dog isn’t comfortable around all the commotion, your pet can spend the entire time in that safe area. This will also help ensure that your pet doesn’t escape when visitors are going in and out.

Have a Calmer, Safer Thanksgiving

We hope our tips will help keep this Thanksgiving a fun, relaxing day that you’ll remember for years to come for all the right reasons. Let us know if you have any questions about keeping your pet safe over the holiday, and have a happy Thanksgiving!

Additional Reading

All accessed October 6, 2020.


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