Many of us consider our pets to be part of our family, making their inclusion in family holidays a natural course of action; and Thanksgiving is no exception. As with many of our favorite festive occasions, though, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to your pet’s health and safety.
Before you set a plate for Fido or Fluffy at the Thanksgiving table, take a moment to learn about which foods can make your four-legged friend sick, and which are safe to share (among other concerns). We want you to spend the day giving thanks for the life and love you share, rather than for finding emergency veterinary care on a major holiday.
We know it’s difficult – or even impossible – to keep your pet out of the kitchen while preparing Thanksgiving dinner, but we encourage you to try. That big bird is so inviting to canine and feline eyes, not to mention all the other goodies crowding the counters and pantry, that it can be hard for your pet to resist getting into mischief.
In addition to stolen nibbles, it’s also possible that in the frenzy of food prep you could trip over or step on your furry friend, or drop something hot, heavy, or otherwise dangerous on your pet, resulting in a traumatic injury.
To keep your pet at bay, you can always offer the following healthy items as a special treat for your pet as a reward for staying out of harms way:
Carrots – Cats prefer them cooked, dogs love them raw or cooked Green beans – Full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber; serve plain Cranberries – Serve the homemade sauce and not the canned or jellied variety to provide urinary tract support and lots of vitamins for both cats and dogs Sweet Potatoes – Nicely steamed or mashed, dogs primarily fancy this nutritious treat Brussels sprouts – Chock full of healthy stuff, cook and serve plain for pets
Dining Room Dangers
Once you’re ready to tuck into your feast, it’s time to thank your guests for not sharing the following foodstuffs with your pets… Offering a little turkey will go a long way with your pet, but please don’t go overboard.
The following should never be offered to your pet:
Alcohol Bread dough (cooked is fine, but the yeast in uncooked doughs can rise in your pet’s digestive tract, resulting in dire consequences) Cooked turkey bones that can crack, splinter, or tear causing pain and damage for your pet Turkey skin Anything cooked with raisins, currants, etc. Grapes Macadamia nuts Stuffing (sage, garlic, and onion will wreak havoc on your pet) Xylitol (found as a sugar substitute in lots of sweet treats like pumpkin pie) Any rich or fatty foods Chocolate
Again, some foods are fine. A little mashed potato, sweet potatoes (especially if they are unsweetened with marshmallows and brown sugar), green beans, and other traditionally healthy nibbles
The post-feast and kitchen clean-up trash is one of the biggest threats to your pets on this food-filled holiday. Hopefully, the kitchen trash was already taken out prior to sitting down and you don’t find your kitchen floor littered with food scraps and refuse.
When storing the trash prior to pick-up day, make sure it is sealed and stored securely to keep your pet from getting into anything decadent and dangerous (like the turkey carcass). Seal leftovers properly and store them in the refrigerator.
Take a few moments to check in with your pet and call us if you notice any of the following:
Gagging or difficulty breathing Vomiting Lethargy Diarrhea Loss of appetite Fever
After your big meal, both you and your pet will benefit from a nice walk through the neighborhood. Don’t let your pet just veg out after his or her meal. Just like us, some fresh air and exercise will go a long way in aiding digestion and preventing an upset tummy. We also recommend providing your pet with easy access to the great outdoors (or a litter box) so that when nature calls, your pet can answer without delay.
We hope that you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!