Thanksgiving Pet Safety

Thanksgiving Pet Safety

| October 6, 2021

Thanksgiving is a time of warm, festive decorations, tasty food, and awkward catch-ups with cousins. No matter what is planned for Thanksgiving Weekend, pet owners should keep some things in mind for their pet’s safety. Here is how to make the weekend as safe for everyone as possible.

Leftovers are not as harmless as you may think

  • Turkey, turkey skin, and other high fat foods can increase the risk of pancreatitis in some dogs. This is an inflammation of the pancreas and can result in serious illness. Signs of pancreatitis include nausea, vomiting, fever, lethargy, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and decreased appetite.
  • Keep an eye out for bones. If eaten, turkey bones can splinter and become lodged in the throat or further down the digestive system, causing severe damage to tissue. If you think your pet has eaten a turkey bone, see a veterinarian right away.
  • Raw yeast bread dough can be harmful for a dog or cat when ingested. The yeast will continue converting sugars into carbon dioxide, gas, and alcohol. This could lead to bloating, intoxication, and in some extreme cases, hospitalization.
  • Other foods that are harmful to pets include onions, raisins, grapes, and of course, chocolate. An artificial sweetener called xylitol (which is used in some sugar-free baked goods) – can also be harmful if consumed by dogs or cats.
  • While you and your family or friends are eating, serve a specially prepared meal for your pet at the same time. A prepared dish of regular pet food inside a food puzzle toy or with some chew bones will keep them occupied when you enjoy your food.

Store food (and garbage) out of reach

  • If you have a pet who likes to explore the countertops, place food somewhere they do not have access to – such as the fridge or in the microwave.
  • Your pet does not distinguish between full meals and soon-to-be compost. Immediately after your meal, store turkey remains away in a tightly sealed bag inside the compost or garage bin.

Help your pet cope with company

  • While many pets will enjoy the extra company, others will not. Be sure to set up a sanctuary room for your pet before guests arrive, equipped with bedding, food, water, and even some pleasant background sounds or music. This is where your pet can relax and feel safe while you and the guests enjoy yourselves.
  • If people are going to be coming in and out of the house, make sure your pet can be easily identified should they get separated from you. That means a collar with ID tag and a microchip. Microchips can increase the chances a lost pet is returned home safely. Toronto Humane Society offers microchipping services through our Public Veterinary Clinic.

(From the CVMA and the AVMA)