As Thanksgiving approaches, you prepare to gather with friends and family—both two- and four-legged ones—and indulge in all the bounty the season has to offer. Unfortunately, pets cannot handle a holiday binge as well as people, and often develop food-related illnesses brought on by overindulgence. Other holiday hazards also abound, so keep a close eye out for Thanksgiving day dangers that may harm your furry pal. Follow these seven tips, to ensure you and your pet have a safe and happy holiday.

#1: Keep your pet’s paws off floral centerpieces

Nothing brightens up your holiday table more than a cheerful floral centerpiece, but many seasonal plants can be toxic to your pet. For example, if you decorate your dining table with autumn crocuses, chrysanthemums, or oak tree acorns, you must ensure your pet cannot reach them. Before designing a gorgeous floral centerpiece, check the ASPCA’s list of toxic plants, to ensure you don’t bring home any hazardous blooms or greenery.

#2: Secure your pet during arrivals and departures

As you welcome loved ones into your home, opportunities will arise for your pet to slip out an open door. Instead of greeting guests while worriedly watching your pet, to ensure they don’t run out the front door, safely confine them to their crate, inside a room, or behind a baby gate, until all your guests have arrived or departed. 

#3: Top off your trash can with a pet-proof lid

Your pet no doubt sees the trash can as a treasure trove of goodies, but everything inside should be off-limits to them. Food scraps, like bones, grease, and spoiled leftovers, can cause gastrointestinal upset, obstructions, or pancreatitis, while food preparation materials, such as aluminum foil and cooking twine, can also pose health hazards. Protect your pet from the trash with a locking, pet-proof lid on the can.

#4: Keep Thanksgiving comfort foods all to yourself

Thanksgiving is known for its menu loaded with comfort foods, but these heavy dishes are often laden with fat, spices, and seasonings, which can all pose a threat to your pet’s health. Popular dishes you must not share with your pet include:

  • Mashed potatoes and gravy — Buttery mashed potatoes and rich gravy, with their high fat content, are a pancreatitis case waiting to happen.
  • Turkey — While unseasoned, skinless, and boneless turkey breast is an acceptable treat for your furry pal, the skin, seasonings, and bones pose a major threat to their gastrointestinal tract.
  • Stuffing — Many Thanksgiving stuffings contain onions or garlic, which can lead to anemia in pets when eaten in large quantities. Stuffing may also contain currants or raisins, which can be deadly for pets. They may ingest only a few raisins or currants, but kidney failure can still result, so keep all stuffing away from your four-legged friend.
  • Yeast rolls — When ingested, unbaked yeast dough ferments, giving off carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. The alcohol gets into your pet’s bloodstream, leading to severe metabolic and neurological abnormalities caused by alcohol poisoning. The carbon dioxide distends their stomach, leading to pain, and decreased blood return to the heart (i.e., shock). Either of these conditions can prove fatal.
  • Desserts — If you’re trying to be healthy in one aspect of your holiday feast, you may opt for xylitol in place of sugar in desserts. However, this sweetener is highly toxic to dogs, and can cause a sharp drop in blood glucose, and may damage the liver.

#5: Don’t give your dog a bone

Although your pooch is probably begging you to toss that turkey leg their way, resist those puppy-dog eyes. Not only is the skin unhealthy for your pet, but also ingested bones can prove fatal. Cooked bones can easily splinter, piercing the gastrointestinal tract, or form a blockage that requires emergency surgery.

#6: Watch out for stranger danger

Strange people in your home can unsettle your pet, especially if they’re high-strung. If your furry pal is not a social butterfly, create an off-limits safe space where they can relax alone. Provide a new toy, fresh chew, and white noise to help drown out the festive sounds, and ease your pet’s anxiety about the unfamiliar people in their home.

#7: Let your pet wear their birthday suit

While your Chihuahua may have made a stellar lion last month, your pet is best left in their birthday suit for Thanksgiving day celebrations. Pet costumes can create potential hazards, such as too-tight necklines, or loose strings and buttons. Instead of stuffing your pet into a pilgrim or turkey costume, let them wear a simple, holiday-themed collar.

Don’t let a gnawed-on turkey, or a demolished floral centerpiece, ruin your holiday festivities. Contact our Pet Emergency Clinic and Referral Center team if your furry pal encounters a Thanksgiving-related mishap.