The biggest dangers to pets on Thanksgiving

Guest Post by Diana Guerrero

Do you give in to cute pesky pets at the dinner table? This Thanksgiving holiday pet lovers are urged to resist the intense gazes and vocal demands of pleading pets to keep them safe. Learn about the seven biggest risks to pets on Thanksgiving.

There can be deadly consequences for animals during the holidays. Holiday threats to animals can include seasonal decorations, ornamental lighting, ingestion of inappropriate or toxic items, excessive consumption of rich foods or harmful food, candle flames, and many other hazards.

Before you sit down to feast, take away temptation–from both guests and pets. If you feed pets before the guests arrive you reduce the temptation for begging and stealing. You can also use a pet gate or play pen to house the pet nearby, but provide a safety barrier.

One of the easiest ways to avoid trouble is to make sure your guests know the pet rules and discourage them from feeding critters scraps from the table. The best approach is to make sure any animal is occupied with a chewy or playmates in another room. Once the table is cleared, make sure pets cannot get to scraps or bones.

The biggest hazards to pets on Thanksgiving include:

  • Rich, fatty foods (turkey skins, gravy, etc,) can contribute to pancreatitis. This gland inflammation is painful and can be serious-requiring emergency veterinary assistance.
  • Cooked bones can splinter and cause tears or obstruction in a pet’s digestive tract.
  • Baking strings, if ingested, can create trouble if ingested by your pet.
  • Onions in holiday stuffing can lead to canine anemia if consumed by your dog.
  • Grapes and raisin toxins can cause kidney failure in pets.
  • Ingesting chocolate can cause seizures or kill your pet.
  • Caffeine and alcohol are also toxic for pets.

The solution? Keep all goodies out of reach!

Preventative safety measures are the best strategies so store leftover food out of reach and in tightly closed containers.  Next, make sure garbage cans are secured to keep critters out.

What can you do instead?

Pet households should consider providing appropriate chew toys or food occupation devices for pets during the holiday activities. The Kong Company produces great products and there is a goodie dispenser that keeps dogs occupied which is purr-fect.  Look for great bird and cat toys that provide similar activity as most pet stores carry these products.

The investment and preparation can insure that you and your pets have a happy and healthy holiday.  Finally, just in case you have a problem, it never hurts to keep your emergency vet clinic or veterinary hospital number handy.  You never know when you will encounter a disaster during holiday festivities.

Diana L Guerrero is an animal expert with over 30 years of experience with both wild and domestic animals. Based in California, the Ark Lady runs multiple websites and works as a pet parenting coach, freelance writer, and professional speaker. Guerrero is often featured in the media as a pet expert and is the author of What Animals Can Teach Us about Spirituality: Inspiring Lessons of Wild & Tame Creatures and Blessing of the Animals: Prayers & Other Ceremonies Celebrating Pets & Other Creatures.

5 Comments on The biggest dangers to pets on Thanksgiving

  1. Susan
    November 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm (9 years ago)

    What I need to know is how to keep my cat from jumping on the table during Thanksgiving dinner! I guess I’ll have to try and get him one of those treats.

    Reply
  2. Ingrid
    November 22, 2010 at 5:05 pm (9 years ago)

    Glad you found the tips helpful, Max.

    Nan, that’s a great question! The gravy used in commercial cat food is much lower in fat than the “human” version we eat at Thanksgiving.

    Angie, I’m glad your shy kitty won’t miss dinner now :-)!

    Reply
  3. Angie, Catladyland/Katt Food
    November 22, 2010 at 3:27 pm (9 years ago)

    Great info. I like the idea of feeding your cats before the guests arrive. That’s also helpful for one of my cats who is shy and would hide and miss dinner if there were people over.

    Reply
  4. Nan
    November 22, 2010 at 12:12 pm (9 years ago)

    The article says fatty foods are bad for kitties, i.e. gravy. But the cat food we buy is “xxx in gravy.” Is this different gravy in the wet cat food?

    Reply
  5. Max the Quilt Cat
    November 22, 2010 at 6:54 am (9 years ago)

    Thanks for the great tips. This article very needed…

    have a great day…

    max

    Reply

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