Next week the holiday season will be kicking off with a bang. The focus will be on family, friends, football and FOOD next Thursday. But don’t forget about your furry family members this Thanksgiving.
If your pet is a real party animal, he may be as excited as you are about all the activity and delicious smells. Or if she’s the shy type, she may feel a bit anxious.
Either way, now is the time to start thinking about how the big day will affect your cat or dog. Because with just a bit of pre-planning you can keep your pet safe this Thanksgiving, so you can ALL enjoy the holiday stress free.
Keep your pet safe this Thanksgiving
From rich foods to open doors, there are hidden hazards for your pet around every corner on Thanksgiving. Following are five potential Thanksgiving threats to prepare for.
1. Turkey skin or bones:
It’s hard to say no to those sweet puppy-dog eyes or beautiful feline peepers when your pet starts asking to join in on the feast. And you may feel tempted to slip him some turkey skin to munch on or a crunchy bone to chew on.
Avoid that urge, because both can be dangerous for your precious pet.
High fat foods such as turkey skin are tough to digest and can upset your pet’s stomach. And the oils, butters, marinades and spices used to flavor the turkey and keep it moist can make matters worse.
Eating turkey skin can trigger vomiting or diarrhea in both cats and dogs. And high fat foods can trigger a painful and damaging bout of acute pancreatitis.
Turkey bones are bad news too. They can splinter and catch in your pet’s throat leading to choking. And sharp bones can poke holes in your pet’s digestive tract or cause obstructions that require surgery.
Try this instead: If you want to include your pet in the festivities, a little unseasoned, skinless, lean, white turkey meat is usually fine. But keep in mind, if your pet has a sensitive tummy switching up their food could still cause a bit of a bellyache. So keep the portion small.
Slipping your pet some stuffing might seem harmless. After all, it’s mostly bread. But the truth is stuffing often contains ingredients that can be dangerous for your pet.
- Onions, chives and garlic can be toxic, causing anemia in dogs and cats.
- Grapes and raisins can lead to severe kidney problems.
- Macadamia nuts and walnuts can be toxic, causing vomiting and tremors.
Plus dressings often contain turkey drippings and other fats, which can upset your pet’s stomach, or trigger pancreatitis.
Try this instead: While stuffing is off limits for your pet, another common Thanksgiving food that can be fine in moderation are sweet potatoes. If your pet seems interested, a few cubes of plain, cooked sweet potatoes should be fine.
Just make sure the potatoes are truly naked. Candied sweet potatoes, made with sugar and spices and topped with marshmallows, aren’t good for your pet (or you).
If your pet has a sweet tooth, she might start eyeing up the dessert table. Don’t give in; desserts can contain hidden dangers for furry friend.
The sugars, fats and dairy used in desserts can cause digestion problems. Nutmeg can trigger seizures. Chocolate, which contains theobromine, can be toxic for your pet. And xylitol, used in sugar-free and no-sugar-added baked goods, can be deadly for your dog or cat.
Try this instead: Pumpkin pie is off the table. But if your pet’s begging gets to you, try a small serving of plain, canned pumpkin. Your pet will enjoy it just as much as the pie. Plus it can even help with digestion.
4. Holiday flowers and plants:
Cut flowers and plants make pretty holiday displays, but some of them can be dangerous or deadly for your pet. And cats in particular are often attracted to them.
Eating any part of a lily can be fatal for your cat. And many lilies are dangerous for dogs too. Amaryllis, holly, bergamot orange, and chrysanthemums can be toxic to your pets as well. And potpourris often contain problematic herbs, oils and plants.
For a complete list of toxic plants, check the ASPCA’s database of poisonous plants.
Try this instead: To be safe, you can certainly just skip the flowers or plants in your Thanksgiving centerpiece. But if you prefer, you can replace them with safer, non-toxic plants such as Christmas cactus, African daisies or African violets.
5. Trash and decorations:
Both food trash and decorations can prove nearly irresistible to your pet.
Both cats and dogs love to chew on ribbons, thread, and strings, particularly if they were used to bind the turkey or ham. But if swallowed they can become caught in their digestive tract causing damage.
A turkey carcass or bones left sitting out on the counter or in an open trashcan can attract your pet. But eating them could be deadly for your fluffy family member.
And bags, packaging, and decorations of all sorts can be swallowed and lead to blockages.
Try this instead: Be sure to place all food trash and discarded decorations in a closed trash can with a tightly fitting lid. If possible, store the can outside or behind a closed door to keep it out of temptation’s way.
Make sure there are no loose parts on your holiday displays. Keep them up off the floor, away from curious pooches. And keep an eye on your pet when they’re in a room with decorations.
Avoid pet stress on Thanksgiving day
Try feeding your pet before guests arrive to reduce begging. And ask friends and family not to feed your furbaby during the festivities.
Keep in mind that with all the comings and goings, your pet could easily slip out an open door unnoticed. So consider crating your pet, or finding a quiet spot behind a closed door for them to spend part of the day.
And providing your pet with a fun new toy, or perhaps a new treat to munch on, is a great way to keep your pet occupied while you eat.
Be on the lookout for any changes in your pet’s behavior as well as vomiting or diarrhea, all of which could be signs that she’s eaten something toxic or dangerous. And don’t hesitate to call the ASPCA poison control hotline at 888-426-4435, or your local emergency vet, if you suspect your pet has gotten into something dangerous.
When the big day arrives. you’re bound to be busy and distracted. But giving some thought to these Thanksgiving threats now can save you a lot of stress and heartache later.