Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Dogs and Cats

– from The Wellness Blog

Orange, yellow and red leaves line the streets and the Halloween costumes are put away for another year. You know what that means! It’s only a few short weeks until Thanksgiving!

And while you check your guest list and count your serving utensils, don’t forget about your pets.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful tradition of food and family, but for your four-legged family members, it can present hazards. While Great Aunt Mabel preps her famous sweet potato casserole, Max and Fluffy can get into the trash behind her back and get dangerously sick.

Think of the traditional Thanksgiving foods, there’s fatty turkey trimmings – hello upset tummy! There’s cranberry sauce (loaded with sugar), dressing with onions, and other foods that can turn your Thanksgiving into an evening at the emergency vet.

Top Thanksgiving Hazards for Pets


1-      Fatty foods – Turkey skin is fatty. If you or a well-meaning guest give your dog turkey skin, your dog could develop a painful condition known as pancreatitis. It doesn’t take much either. Some dogs have sickened and even died from ingesting a small amount.

Other foods that are dangerous are onions, raisins, grapes and chocolate. So, don’t feed your pets dressing or chocolate pie either.  If you have guests who may be inclined to “share” with your four legged friends, please encourage them otherwise.

2-      Trash – Whether it’s a tempting turkey carcass or a pile of “scraps,” the lure of the garbage may be too much for even the best-behaved pets to handle. It’s a good idea to exercise your “pet management” skills by either keeping your pets safely out of food prep areas or keeping the trash well out of reach – probably behind a cupboard door.

3-      Decorations – Lighted candles, crepe paper, and other decorations can prove hazardous to your pet’s health if they’re of the mind to chew on anything available or haven’t yet learned about fire. Keep an eye on them when they’re around and be alert for any unusual behavior.

4-      Be Aware of Poisoning Symptoms – Gastro-intestinal upsets like vomiting or diarrhea are common symptoms of poisoning. This can occur when your pet has ingested things like chocolate, raisins, onions and other foods their bodies aren’t equipped to digest.

From toxicity to severe gastro-intestinal problems to blockages caused by splintered bones, the Thanksgiving table is rife with potential pet hazards.

If you suspect your pet ate something he or she shouldn’t have, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control hotline immediately. 888-426-4435.

While food is a big part of pet hazards at Thanksgiving, crowds and traveling are two other considerations.

Crowds – Like people, some pets are fine with crowds while others would prefer the safety of a quiet place away from the noise. You know your pets the best. If they’re used to having the run of the house, you might choose to allow that but if they seem stressed or nervous around visiting toddlers, then you can escort them (your pets) to peace and quiet.

Road Tripping – If a road trip to Grandma’s is in your future, make sure your pets have secure kennels to ride in. Roaming pets can lead to distracted driving which can lead to traffic accidents.  Flying has its own rules of course and they vary by airline so you’ll want to check with them.

Now that you know these top Thanksgiving pet safety tips, exercise a little precaution when it comes to your pets and let your biggest concern be a perfectly cooked turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving!