Thanksgiving Pet Safety

Thanksgiving Day is a great time to gather with friends and family (including pets) and enjoy a delicious meal. We may be tempted to share these special foods with our pets, but there are a few things to know before we indulge our pets with a feast. First of all, it’s best to keep pets on a regular diet that’s safe and appropriate for them. Human food generally isn’t suited to cats and dogs and may cause them digestive problems even if it isn’t toxic to them. 

Many of the foods we eat on Thanksgiving are seasoned with ingredients that are toxic to cats and dogs. Garlic, onions, leeks, chives and other plants in the genus Allium can cause the destruction of red blood cells in pets (leading to anemia) as well as digestive problems like nausea, abdominal pain, and vomiting. Grapes and raisins are also toxic for pets, causing kidney damage and even kidney failure. Never feed foods with these ingredients to a pet. 

If you’re baking fresh bread or rolls, keep raw yeast dough out of the reach of pets. Expanding dough with live yeast can cause bloating when eaten by pets. It can even lead to alcohol toxicosis when alcohol is produced in the stomach through yeast fermentation. 

Although all desserts and candy are generally not healthy for pets to consume, chocolate is especially dangerous for them. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, two natural stimulants that can be fatal to pets if consumed in large quantities. Sugar free baked goods and gums often contain the sweetener xylitol, which can cause hypoglycemia, seizures, and liver failure in pets who have eaten it. If you think your pet may have eaten something toxic, call Galloway Village Veterinary or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control right away.

Another consideration that can help keep pets safe on Thanksgiving is the proper disposal of garbage. A turkey carcass left out or bagged up in an accessible place may be too tempting for a pet to pass up. While cats and dogs are naturally carnivores, our pets are not used to dealing with bones in their food. Turkey bones are a serious choking hazard for pets picking through leftovers or trash. Remove the temptation of food waste by promptly taking trash to an outdoor dumpster or other secure location. 

Be sure to include your holiday guests in the effort to keep pets safe. If you have children visiting make sure they understand that Thanksgiving dinner shouldn’t be shared with the pets. Instead, consider giving kids some pet-appropriate treats to feed to your dogs and cats. Since unfamiliar guests can become overwhelming, give your pets a quiet space where they can get away from the activity and noise. This can help alleviate stress and prevent any behavioral problems. 

Pay attention to the location of pets as guests are coming and going from your home. Pets can easily slip out the door past a guest and become lost. Keeping pets in a closed room or crate while guests arrive and leave will prevent any escapes. During busy times like holidays, it’s especially important that pets have up-to-date identification tags and/or microchips. These forms of identification are vital in recovering lost pets. 

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!