A Safe Pet Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year. It is often a time spent surrounded by loved ones, a time of open doors sharing our many gifts with those that have come from near and far. Some people we have known all our lives, and others we have just met but are welcomed into our homes with open arms.

As with any holiday, Thanksgiving requires some special precautions to make sure our pets are well cared for and safe. No one wants to spend their holiday at an emergency vet, so here are some tips, things to watch out for, and ideas to help keep your pet safe:

  1. Always make sure your pets have collars on with ID tags and are microchipped. If you are expecting guests, there will be lots of door opening, and there may be people not familiar with your household or pets. Pets can escape through open doors as you help people carry in groceries or give hugs at the front door. If necessary, crating pets or enclosing them in bedrooms can help ensure they don't escape. 
  2. If you are traveling, find a reputable pet sitter/friend/relative to stay at your house to watch your pets, or board them at a trusted boarding facility. Leaving pets alone with an overflowing bowl of food and water can be dangerous and accidents can happen.
  3. Make sure all your guests are aware you have pets (sometimes pets can be shy and hide when guests come over) and to avoid leaving doors open.
  4. Make sure to continue daily routines like exercising your pet, or spending some time with them. Taking the dog for a walk is a great way to bond with them (and to burn off that extra slice of pie 😁)
  5. If there will be children in the house, keep an eye on interactions between kids and pets. Pets that are generally good with small children can be stressed if their routine has been altered.
  6. Don't allow guests to feed begging pets table scraps, no matter how cute they are.
  7. There will be a lot of extra food prep taking place in the kitchen. Beware of counter surfing dogs or opportunistic cats looking for food.
  8. Watch out for cats around open flames, like candles on tables or fires in fireplaces.
  9. Floral centerpieces can be dangerous to a pet if they eat them. Plants like poinsettias and iris' are dangerous to pets if ingested. The ASPCA has a database of plants that are toxic to animals here: ASPCA Poisonous Plants
  10. Be very cautious of bones. Dinner plates left unattended on a table or counter and kitchen trash cans are very appealing to pets. Bones are choking hazards and can be hard to digest.
  11. Changes in routine can cause anxiety. Make sure your pet has a safe, quiet area they can retire too. Let your guests know that that area/room is off limits to protect your pets.
The holidays often involve gatherings that are centered around food. Many foods that are staples of Thanksgiving can prove harmful to your pets. A few of those are:
  1. Turkey carcass/bones (choking hazard) or undercooked turkey (Salmonella)
  2. Raw meat with bones (choking hazard)
  3. Raw eggs (Salmonella)
  4. Onions and garlic are toxic for pets
  5. Chocolate
  6. Alcohol
  7. Raisins and grapes
  8. Xylitol (a sweetener found in some foods/peanut butters)
It is a wise idea to keep your pet out of the kitchen while preparing food, and away from the dining room table as food is set out for dinner. For a more comprehensive list of foods that are dangerous to your pet, please click here

Thanksgiving is an amazing time to spend with loved ones (including your furry ones!). Taking special care and following these tips can help keep everyone safe, and have even more to be thankful for!