Thanksgiving is a holiday best enjoyed with friends and family, and your four-legged family member is no exception. However, some potential dangers exist for pets joining in the holiday festivities, so check out our do’s and don’ts to keep them safe.

DO be aware of common Thanksgiving dangers for pets

The best way to prepare for any holiday with pets is to know what possible hazards are lurking. Thanksgiving is no exception because of the many dangers associated with food, guests, and decorations. Keep your pet away from toxic foods, your guests’ belongings, and seasonal decorations that can be hazardous or cause toxicity.

DON’T share your Thanksgiving feast with your pet

After putting a lot of thought into your Thanksgiving menu, you want everyone to enjoy the feast. However, many popular Thanksgiving foods are dangerous to pets. Refrain from sharing the following dishes with your furry pal:

  • Turkey — Although your pet may be drooling for a turkey leg, keep that tasty drumstick for yourself. The skin and dark meat are high in fat content, which can lead to pancreatitis, while the seasonings commonly used for turkey can cause issues if ingested in high enough amounts. If your pet gnaws on a leg, they can splinter bones, piercing their gastrointestinal tract or creating a blockage.
  • Mashed potatoes and gravy — Buttery mashed potatoes and thick gravy are mouth-watering comfort foods, but they can be too rich for your pet’s pancreas to handle. Fatty foods can cause pancreatitis, which can be fatal.
  • Stuffing — If you include garlic, onions, or chives in your secret stuffing recipe, this dish can be toxic to your pet. These ingredients are members of the Allium family, and can cause red blood cell destruction and anemia in cats and dogs.
  • Dessert — While you know chocolate is off-limits for pets, did you also know that sugar-free treats are dangerous? When sugar is replaced with xylitol, it can lead to severe hypoglycemia and liver failure in dogs, so be careful when making diabetic- and keto-friendly dessert recipes.

DO let your pet get out of dressing up

Your children probably don’t enjoy putting on their Sunday best for holiday meals, and your pet likely doesn’t, either. Your furry pal probably also doesn’t appreciate being decked out as a furry turkey or four-legged pilgrim. Most pets prefer to attend holiday gatherings in their birthday suit, as costumes can be ill-fitting and interfere with mobility, eyesight, or breathing. Plus, your pet may try to chew off their costume, ingesting buttons, zippers, and strings. Instead of dressing your pet up for the holiday, outfit them in a festive bandana or collar to show their holiday spirit.

DON’T leave the trash can unattended

You may toss your leftovers into the trash can and think no more of it, but your pet likely is salivating over the aromas coming from the trash. Turkey bones and skin, spoiled leftovers, and cooking supplies can tempt your pet into consuming a hazardous or toxic item. Keep your pet safe from a dumpster-diving disaster by placing the trash can in a pantry closet, behind a baby gate, or beneath a locking lid.

DO provide a quiet space for your pet

When your house is full of family and friends, your pet may need a spot to call their own. Create a quiet space for them that is off-limits to your guests, and let your pet unwind when they begin to show signs of anxiety. If you notice your pet clinging to your side, or showing widened eyes, a hunched body posture, or flattened ears, it’s time to head to their sanctuary. A soft bed to curl up on, an interesting new toy, and a tasty treat puzzle will help your pet relax in peace and quiet.

DON’T let your pet be part of your Thanksgiving display

Intriguing new plants and decor can spark your pet’s curiosity and may lead them into danger. When setting up a festive fall or Thanksgiving display, keep your pet out of it. The following items can be hazardous to your furry pal:

  • Flowers and plants — Chrysanthemums are a popular fall flower because their brilliant blooms brighten up any porch or table display. However, they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, and lack of coordination in pets, so swap them out for pansies or asters.
  • Lit candles — Studding your holiday display with lit candles can draw your pet too close as they investigate the flickering flames. Switch to battery-powered candles to prevent a fire.
  • Corn cobs and stalks — These harvest items can become lodged in your pet’s 
  • gastrointestinal tract if swallowed. 
  • Seasonal vegetables — If you use squash, gourds, and pumpkins in your display, check them regularly and toss them when they begin to rot to prevent your pet from eating moldy veggies. 

If you plan on traveling with your pet this Thanksgiving, ensure they are current on vaccinations. Give our Midtown Veterinary Hospital team a call to schedule a booster visit before holiday traveling.