Thanksgiving safety tips for your pet - BC SPCA
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Thanksgiving safety tips for your pet

October 1, 2023

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for all the good things in our lives – like our pets. While Thanksgiving is a special time for loved ones and good food, it can also be a time of potential danger for our furry family members.

Because Thanksgiving only comes once a year, your pet might not be used to the festivities and their safety might not be top of mind with all the hustle and bustle of the day. However, before the celebration begins, it’s a good idea to take some pet-friendly precautions.

Tortoiseshell cat sitting with woman on sofa, in a home decorated for fall.

Be cautious of Thanksgiving food

You might find your Thanksgiving meal to be delicious but some items on your menu can be harmful to your pet. Beware of these popular Thanksgiving foods and keep these well out of your furry friend’s reach when they are around.

  • Turkey skin – Fatty foods like turkey skin is difficult for dogs to digest, which can cause pancreatitis.
  • Alcohol – Alcohol can cause intoxication, lack of coordination, poor breathing and potentially, a coma or death.
  •  Cooked bones – When it comes to bones, the danger is that cooked bones can easily splinter when chewed by your dog or cat; the splinters can cause damage when chewed and/or swallowed.
  • Corn on the cob – The cob can get lodged in the small intestine, and if it’s not removed surgically, can prove fatal to your dog.
  • Garlic – Garlic is related to onions, which are both toxic for dogs.
  • Mushrooms – The wrong mushroom can be fatal to humans as well as your pet.
  • Onions and chives – These contain disulfides and sulfoxides (thiosulphate), both of which can cause anemia and damage red blood cells.
  • Chocolate – Chocolate is toxic to dogs. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener sometimes used in baking, is also toxic to pets. Try to avoid using this sweetener in your Thanksgiving cooking.
  • Yeast dough – This can cause problems for pets, including painful gas and potentially dangerous bloating.

Additionally,  remember to put the trash away where your pets can’t find it. Dispose of garbage immediately, particularly turkey carcasses and bones – and anything used to wrap or tie the meat, such as strings or twine, and packaging – and to do so in a covered, tightly secured trash bag placed in a closed container outdoors.

Cute white dog Maltese sitting on a chair at the table and begging for food.

Choose your Thanksgiving flowers and décor wisely

It’s important to make sure all your decorations are pet-proof, especially regarding popular fall plants and flowers. Some popular ones that are toxic include:

  • Autumn crocus
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Amaryllis
  • Sweet William
  • Lilies

Additionally, avoid decorations with ribbons or other small parts, like acorns, pine cones and needles, that could be easily swallowed. While these items may look festive, they can cause serious obstructions, as well as pose as choking hazards, if your pet chooses to eat them.

thanksgiving dog

Be mindful of guest interaction with your pet

Gatherings may be smaller this year, but we know family and friends will be getting together within our bubbles. The sights, sounds and new faces of Thanksgiving can be fun for you and your family, but they can also be overwhelming for your pet. Here are some things to keep in mind when guests arrive.

  • Have an area where your pet can be alone and enjoy some peace and quiet. Your furry friend might experience anxiety with new people in the home, so make sure they have an alternate space to go to that includes their favorite toys and treats. Also, inform you guests to respect your pet’s privacy, especially if they have little ones who might want to play with your not-so-accommodating pet.
  • Be careful of doors. Even if your pets are familiar with your guests, it’s important to still keep a close eye on them, especially when people are entering or leaving your home. In the excitement of everything your furry friend might make a break for it and become lost.
  • Make sure your pet has proper identification. This includes your current contact information on a collar, and particularly a microchip with up-to-date, registered information with the BC Pet Registry. That way, if they do sneak out, they’re more likely to be returned to you.

By keeping the above tips in mind, both you and your pet can enjoy a fun-filled and safe Thanksgiving.

More like this

10 plants that are toxic to your pet
Toxic for dogs: What to avoid feeding Fido
Toxic for cats: What to avoid feeding your feline

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