Guide to Thanksgiving Safety for Pets

A dog sitting at the table with a turkey

There’s nothing quite like Thanksgiving with friends, family, football, and amazing food. Our pets likely agree, especially about the food part. Once the delicious aromas of turkey and stuffing hit the air, little noses are sure to be wiggling and curious eyes searching for a handout or a morsel dropped under the table.

As wonderful as it is, the Thanksgiving cornucopia brings with it a certain set of risks for our four-legged friends. Our comprehensive guide to Thanksgiving safety for pets aims to educate pet owners on the potential dangers of the holiday, as well as offer ways to safely celebrate with your pet.

Food Safety

Many of our traditional holiday foods are toxic to pets, and accidental pet poisonings are unfortunately common during the holiday season. Keep the following food items away from your pet:

  • Chocolate
  • Xylitol (sugar substitute)
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Onions and onion powder
  • Raw bread dough
  • Raw or undercooked poultry or meat
  • Sage and other herbs

Sometimes our pets’ love of eating can get them into serious trouble, particularly when they ingest something inedible and cause a bowel obstruction.

Inedible items, such as corn cobs, cooked bones, aluminum foil, and plastic turkey wrappers, are among those commonly eaten by pets during the holiday season. Remove the temptation by covering all garbage cans securely and putting away leftovers immediately after eating.

If you know or suspect that your pet has eaten something he or she shouldn’t have, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

A Word about Pancreatitis

You will most likely regret eating too much of Aunt Edna’s deviled eggs and Grandma’s pumpkin pie, but for pets an overindulgence in fatty foods can be truly dangerous. Rich foods can be difficult for pets to digest, and can lead to severe gastrointestinal distress and even a potentially life-threatening condition known as pancreatitis.

If your pet is exhibiting the following symptoms of pancreatitis, he or she needs to be seen by a veterinarian immediately:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty breathing

Thanksgiving Safety for Pets Can Be Fun!

Our list of Thanksgiving dangers is long and daunting, but that doesn’t mean your furry friend can’t enjoy a few extra treats this time of year. Many of the vegetables and side dishes you are planning to serve (or be served) can be given in

small amounts to your pet, without the added salt, sugar, or fat.

Think plain, steamed green beans rather than green bean casserole, or mashed sweet potatoes instead of candied yams. Even a scoop of canned pumpkin in your pet’s bowl is a healthy and delicious “dessert” that most pets will adore.

And don’t forget, not all treats are food! Indulging your pet in play or exercise is a great way to burn calories, relieve stress, and spend time with your pet. Head out for a neighborhood walk or stay in for a game of tug-o-war or laser pointer once the big meal is over. Show your pet how thankful you are for him or her with lots of snuggles and affection!

Happy Thanksgiving to you, your family, and your pet from your friends at Berkeley Veterinary Center!

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