Thanksgiving- a time where we gather at the dinner table and celebrate with friends and family while counting our blessings and NOT our calories! It’s a time filled with warm memories and wonderful food, but it can also be a holiday filled with hazards to our family pets. Certain foods and ingredients in our Thanksgiving feasts can be harmful to pets, and the additional activity & people around during the holidays can increase stress, chances for escape, and the opportunity for your pets to get into something they shouldn’t.
Here are some Thanksgiving pet safety tips to help keep the holiday happy for you & your family and safe for your pets.
Troublesome Thanksgiving Ingredients & Foods
Ingredients including onions, garlic, raisins, currants & grapes
Many of our favorite Thanksgiving dishes contain some of the more hazardous ingredients for pets. Stuffings, casseroles & desserts made with onions, raisins, currants, and grapes can be toxic for pets, so make sure to keep those out of your pet’s reach.
Rich & Fatty Foods
Rich foods like buttery mashed potatoes and fatty ones like nuts and bacon also pose a risk to pets. Rich, fatty foods can cause an upset stomach, diarrhea, and even acute pancreatitis, a dangerous condition when the pancreas becomes inflamed, and if left untreated, can lead to organ damage and can be fatal.
Yeast Breads & Rolls
There’s nothing better than a warm yeasty roll to go with your turkey, cranberries, and stuffing- for humans. For pets, however, raw yeast dough can cause painful gas and potentially dangerous bloating, resulting in an unplanned Thanksgiving Day trip to the ER.
Desserts & Sweet Treats
Desserts…the perfect end to a Thanksgiving meal! But some desserts can cause problems for pets- ingredients like chocolate or xylitol (a sugar substitute used in many “sugar-free” or low-calorie desserts or treats) are harmful if ingested by your four-legged family members.
Your best bet if you’re unsure about what to share with your pets for Thanksgiving dinner? Leave the human food to the humans and, if you want to give your pet a special Thanksgiving treat, buy a treat from your local pet store made just for them.
Household Hazards & Party Precautions
Stash the Trash
While Dad and Grandma are busy watching football and Mom and Grandpa are busy cleaning off the dinner table, that’s usually the time when pets make a dash for the trash. Keep that Turkey Day trash well away from curious pets- leftover corncobs, kitchen twine, and turkey bones can be choking hazards and discarded can edges can cut mouths and tongues and can damage paws.
Keep an Eye on the Door
With so many people coming and going during the holidays, the chance of Fido, Fifi, Fangs, or Fluffy escaping increases with each opening and closing of the door. And with so much activity going on, it might be hours before you notice your pet is gone. Take additional precautions by setting up a secondary barrier or by crating or putting your pet in an enclosed area while guests are arriving and departing.
Deck the Halls with Your Pet in Mind
Many of us use the long Thanksgiving weekend to get our storage containers out and start decorating for the holidays. When decorating, make sure to monitor your pet- ornaments and items like tinsel can be choking hazards and can also block their intestinal tracts, while glass items like tree lights and ball ornaments can break and cause external and internal injuries if ingested. We’ve seen more than one patient come to us after having eaten an ornament or Christmas light, and nobody wants to make an emergency trip to the vet if they don’t have to!
Alleviate the Anxiety
If your pet is nervous around lots of people or loud noises, big Thanksgiving get-togethers can be stressful for many pets. Make a “quiet space” for your pet in a room away from all the action and give them food puzzles or toys to keep them occupied. If your pet is especially anxious in situations like these, talk to your veterinarian about options to help manage your pet’s stress level
With these helpful tips, we hope you and your entire two- and four-legged family will have a very safe and happy Thanksgiving! Now, could someone please pass the gravy?