5 Thanksgiving Pet Safety Tips


Too many pets get into trouble on Thanksgiving and land in the pet ER. Nearly always, these events can be avoided. Here are five tips:

  • Deter Dumpster Diving: The explanation is often my pet has never done that, but the tempting aroma of turkey or ham can be impossible to ignore. Ensure pets cannot get into the trash. When doing so they may swallow or chomp on bones, which can cause an obstruction requiring emergency surgery. Or fat or skin can cause a painful inflammation of the pancreas called pancreatitis, which might even be life threatening and can take days to months to recover from.
  • Stop Aunt Ethel and Uncle Fred: While in actuality an appropriate slice or two of turkey or ham is a safe and healthy treat (as long as there is no skin or fat) for most dogs and cats. A bit of sweet potato (without margarine or butter) is also healthy.  The problem is that Aunt Ethel and Uncle Fred may not understand what is appropriate for a 12-lb. cat or 30 lb. dog. At best too much food for the pet’s size can cause an upset tummy. Also feeding from the table encourages begging from the table. If you do supply some Thanksgiving human food, it’s best to offer it in the pet’s usual food dish and in a multi-pet home, there is no competition for this special food.
  • Be Super Careful What to Eat: Foods such as anything with chocolate, onions, grapes, raisins, and Macadamia nuts should be strictly avoided. Gravy might also be too fatty for pets to tolerate. An artificial sweeter called Xylitol, which many mixes for baking contain, is extremely toxic to pets.
  • Thanksgiving Accents: Potpourri to add to the mood with a scent can be dangerous for the sensitive respiratory systems of pet birds. Candles can be knocked over, and are a fire hazard.
  • Thanksgiving Day Dinner for Cats or for Dogs: These are canned Merrick pet foods (available at many pet stores, and com). This grain free recipe’s first ingredient is big home-style chunks of real, deboned USDA inspected turkey, prepared with chicken, sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans and granny smith apples all in a gravy that your dog is sure to love, or you are sure to love.