Naughty dog in groceries

Anyone who has pets knows the pain of resisting puppy dog eyes at the dinner table. As cute as they are, our pets often win the battle on that one. But when it comes to Thanksgiving safety for pets, it’s important to understand the risks and repercussions of giving in. 

But letting your pet partake in the feast is not the only risk to their health around the holidays. Keep reading for Felton Veterinary Hospital’s best tips for Thanksgiving pet safety, and avoid an emergency room visit on this, the most festive of holidays. 

Pet Poisoning Risks

Feasting is synonymous with Thanksgiving, but as unhealthy as it can be for humans, it can be downright dangerous for pets. And pets don’t often self regulate when it comes to toxic foods, sharp bones, and holiday plants that can be deadly. Here are some tips to prevent a holiday pet poisoning. 

Thanksgiving foods. Fatty and salty foods are hard for pets to digest and can cause a life threatening condition called pancreatitis. Even turkey skin can throw a susceptible pet into a digestive tailspin. And some foods that are healthy for people are toxic to pets – like onions, garlic, macadamia nuts, raisins, and grapes. 

No dessert, thanks. Sugary foods like pies and other desserts can cause GI upset, vomiting and diarrhea. Chocolate and sugar substitute xylitol are both extremely toxic to pets and will land you in the emergency clinic. Keep desserts and treats away from pets.

Dumpster diver? If your pet is interested in trash, you need to be very careful. Keep trash bins tightly lidded, or behind a closed, locked door. Clear leftovers right away so your pet isn’t tempted to partake on the kitchen counter. The turkey carcass and any wrappers, string, or aluminum used should be carefully discarded. Thanksgiving garbage can cause intestinal upset, pancreatitis, GI perforation (if bones are consumed) and intestinal blockage.  

Decorative plants. Holiday plants may look great as a centerpiece, but be aware that some plants are toxic to pets. These include amaryllis, hydrangea, some ferns, Sweet William, and holly. The ASPCA has a list of toxic plants for dogs and cats, but the safest way is to keep your pet away from all plants and table decor. 

If you believe your pet has eaten something toxic, call us or our local emergency clinic immediately for guidance. 

Party Planning

Some pets are extremely social and will enjoy a houseful of people. But some pets will be thoroughly stressed and anxious about a change in their normal routine. Here are some ideas about how to keep everyone safe and stress-free. 

Safe spot. If you know your pet doesn’t like noise and unfamiliar people, give her a safe spot for the day. A small bedroom away from the hubbub or a laundry room could work well. Create a sanctuary for her with her bed, water, food, toys, and a white noise machine or soft music. She’ll be away from the stress of the day, and you’ll relax knowing she’s safe.

Bite prevention. Know and understand the signs of stress in your pet. Educate everyone at your house about how to interact with your pet. Encourage children to play gently, and always supervise pets and children together. 

Watch the exits. With all the comings and goings, it’s easy for your pet to slip out the door and become lost. Be especially watchful to prevent your pet from getting out the door. Make sure your pet has identification with your current contact information. A microchip is even better, and your pet’s best chance of a reunion with you if she should become lost. 

Thanksgiving Pet Safety Travel Tips 

If you’re traveling this Thanksgiving, you need some special safety tips. Here’s how to keep your pet safe while out and about. 

  • Never leave your pet alone in a parked car
  • Research air travel guidelines for pets
  • Visit the veterinarian early to learn about required health certificates for travel across state lines and internationally
  • Practice safe pet restraint in vehicles
  • Interview pet sitters early, if you’ll be leaving your pet at home

If you take your pet along on your Thanksgiving trip, make sure you pack for your pet as well as for your family. In addition to your pet’s food, dishes, and medications, this includes medical records, a current photo, a pet first aid kit, and your pet’s bed, leash, blanket, and toys. 

If you have any questions about Thanksgiving safety for pets, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or email us. Our team is here to help!