Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so today I thought I'd share some pet-friendly safety tips to help keep you and your fur-kids happy and safe during this holiday filled with gratitude!
1. While you're cooking your amazing feast and preparing all of that scrumptious food, it’s best to keep your pet in a separate area. If you separating them isn’t an option, then you can simply have someone look after them until you finish everything. Be sure to keep them away from all the things they could get into while you're preparing your feast!
2. In addition to #1 while prepping ingredients, like peeling potatoes or gutting pumpkins, make sure you keep an eye on your little furry family members. Many raw veggies and meat scraps can be less than ideal for your fur-kid’s digestive system, but raw potatoes are particularly harmful and raw pumpkin can give your pup diarrhea which is not a fun experience, especially while you're trying to get everything ready.
3. Before you start cooking, be sure to go over the list of toxic foods for pets to make sure that nothing that is toxic falls into the wrong mouth during the festivities. The following foods are never to be feed to pups: Turkey Skin which holds onto marinades, butter, and other ingredients high in fat, can be very difficult for your dog to digest. Nutmeg can cause seizures and central nervous system damage to dogs, so make sure there isn’t much in any pumpkin or sweet potato dishes you might want to share with your dog. Chocolate and Dough – Chocolate is a well-known carcinogen for dogs, but the dough can also be dangerous as it can rise inside your dog’s stomach, leading to lots of discomforts. Raw bread dough, raw eggs, chocolate, raisins, and macadamia nuts all pose dangers to pets. When animals ingest raw bread dough, their body heat causes the dough to rise in their stomach. As it expands, pets may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain, and bloating—which could become a life-threatening emergency. Raw eggs may contain salmonella bacteria. Turkey - If you decide to share a little nibble of turkey with your pet, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don’t offer them raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria. Sage: While sage can be a tasty addition to your Thanksgiving stuffing, it and many other herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils. Use caution when baking. Speaking of stuffing: Turkey stuffing, spices, and uncooked fruits and vegetables can be very dangerous. Turkey Bones: It seems like Thanksgiving would be the perfect time to dispose of your bones in a mutually beneficial way, but despite your dog’s enthusiasm to devour your turkey bones you should keep them contained and out of reach. The cooked bones can easily splinter in your dog’s throat which can potentially be very dangerous, especially for small dogs. Cooked Bones – Turkey and ham bones become very brittle after cooking and can splinter in your pup’s digestive tract. Walnuts and Macadamia nuts – Various nuts contain toxins that could cause vomiting or seizures in your dogs. Not all nuts contain them, but be sure to do your research before feeding nuts to your pup and always avoid walnuts and macadamia nuts. Onions contain sulfides that are toxic to dogs. Raw Potato and Pumpkin If your pet accidentally swallows a raw pumpkin or potato, it can become lodged in their throat and cause choking. Be
4. To avoid incessant begging once you’re all sitting down to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal, give you dogs their meals at the same time that everyone sits down at the table. Maybe even throw a little plain turkey in their bowls for an extra treat, but remember to cut down on their portions of regular food when you know they’ll be snacking on people's food throughout the day.
5. Set Expectations with your guests. If you have strict rules about what your pets can and cannot do during meals, make an announcement to all your guests before the meal starts. Everyone is different when it comes to what they allow their dogs to get away with, so make sure your guests aren’t sneaking spoonfuls of gravy under the table if you’re discouraging begging or trying to keep them on a strict feeding plan.
6. Some of our furry friends are sensitive to noise, strangers, and new situations. So be sure to account for any anxiety your pets may be feeling with new people, loud situations, and possibly young children running around. If you see your dog is having trouble coping with the large gathering, put him in an area of the house where he feels safe with his comforting toys, dog bed, or treats. Never force your pets to participate in the celebration if they are uncomfortable with it. Be conscious of the issues when mixing guests with pets Not everyone loves animals as much as we do, and some of your guests may not want to have a dog or cat roaming around the dining room during the Thanksgiving meal.
7. With all the people going in and out the door during Thanksgiving, there’s plenty of opportunity for your pet slip through an open doorway and get lost or injured. You may not notice Uncle Hal head out to the car just for a second to get something and leave the door wide open. To prevent your pet from going MIA, make sure that you leash your pet or keep them in a separate room while guests arrive or leave. And just in case, also make sure your pet has proper identification. Making sure your pet has ID tags and is microchipped means a better chance you’ll get reunited quickly should the inevitable happen.
8. After your Thanksgiving meal, make sure to take all the plates, especially ones with half-eaten food, straight to the sink to keep your pet from getting to them. If you're Fido is anything like my brother's pup Rufus, they can often reach that countertop easier than we believe they can! So be sure to scrape all inedible leftover food into plastic bags and throw them in the trash and make sure that the trash bin is securely closed and can’t be opened or knocked over by your pet. For edible leftovers, store them somewhere that’s inaccessible to your pet, like the fridge.
9. Since you’ll be in the kitchen baking anyway, you might as well throw a few festive dog treats together while you’re at it! Ingredients like pumpkin, apple, and cinnamon are great for pups.
10. Many of us overindulge at the Thanksgiving table, but when our pets do, it can cause diarrhea, upset stomach, or even pancreatitis. While it’s ok to share a few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato, or even a lick of pumpkin pie with your furry friends, it’s best to keep pets on their normal diets during the holidays.
11. Keep candles and pets away from each other! We often light candles at the Thanksgiving table, which may be one of only a few times each year that we have candles going. Pets are excited enough about all the heady food smells and extra company, so they’re even less likely to notice if (for example) their tail catches fire when they brush by a lit candle. Make sure you’ve extinguished candles when you’re leaving the table, and don’t leave lit candles unattended.
There you have it! 11 Pet Safety Tips to ensure you and your furkids all have an enjoyable and safe Thanksgiving Howliday this year! We sure hope everyone has an amazing one!