Thanksgiving Pet Safety Tips

Thanksgiving is a holiday focused on family and food. While it's tempting to include our furry family members in the festivities, many aspects of Thanksgiving can endanger pets (so put down that turkey leg)! Here are some suggestions for keeping your pet safe this Thanksgiving.

Dangerous Thanksgiving Foods for Dogs and Cats

It may be tempting for you and your guests to sneak a taste of the delicious meal to the family pet, but many Thanksgiving dishes contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs and cats or cause digestive upset.

Keep your pet away from these dangerous festive foods:

Turkey. Avoid giving your pet turkey meat, particularly fatty dark meat and skin (a small amount of unseasoned white meat is acceptable), and never give them leftover bones. Bones are not only a choking hazard, but they can also splinter inside your pet's digestive tract, necessitating a trip to the emergency vet.

Onion, garlic, leeks, and chives. These seasonings are common in many Thanksgiving dishes and are toxic to dogs and cats, causing red blood cell destruction. Avoid feeding your pet anything made with these ingredients, such as green beans, potatoes, stuffing, or gravy.

Unbaked dough containing yeast. Because the yeast in the dough causes it to rise and expand, eating unbaked yeast dough can cause a stomach blockage. Furthermore, the natural fermentation of yeast in your cat or dog's stomach can result in alcohol poisoning. If you're planning on baking some delicious dinner rolls for Thanksgiving, make sure to proof your dough somewhere your pet can't get to it, such as in a turned-off oven or microwave, rather than right on the counter, where it's often within easy reach of your pet.

Desserts. Desserts such as pies, fruitcakes, and cookies should also be kept out of reach of your pet. Chocolate is known to be toxic to dogs and cats, but so are raisins, currants, and the popular sugar substitute xylitol. Even in small amounts, xylitol is toxic to dogs, so keep that slice of keto/diabetic/sugar-free pie to yourself.

Not only do you not want to feed your pets toxic foods, but you also don't want them to dive into the trash in search of tasty scraps. Request that family and guests refrain from feeding the dog, and make sure your trash can is secure.

Feed them Pet-Friendly Food Options Instead

While the list of foods to avoid may appear to be lengthy, there are a few excellent options for pet-friendly Thanksgiving treats. Raw fruits and vegetables such as baby carrots, green beans, apples, sweet potato chunks, or pumpkin puree (not the sweetened, spiced pie filling) are excellent choices.

Secure Your Home

With family and friends coming and going over the Thanksgiving holiday, make sure your cat or dog doesn't escape through the open front door and gets lost. Set up gates to keep your dog away from the front door when guests arrive and depart (and to avoid the chaos of a jumping or barking dog at the door), or keep them on a leash to prevent door dashing. Keep your cat in a separate room with the door shut to prevent them from escaping into the great outdoors.

Keep Your Pets Away from Guest’s Bags

Houseguests bring everything they bring with them, and handbags, backpacks, or suitcases can be dangerous to your pets if they stick their noses where they don't belong. Sugar-free xylitol gum, candy bars, and human medication can all ruin your holiday plans if your pet consumes them. To protect your pets, have guests hang their bags on hooks rather than leaving them on the floor, and keep the guest room door closed.

You and your pet can have a safe and happy Thanksgiving by following these pet safety tips.