Pet Thanksgiving Safety Tips for a Barkinโ€™ Good Day Keeping Your Pet Healthy and Happy this Thanksgiving

Pet Thanksgiving Safety Tips for a Barkinโ€™ Good Day
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vet verified PetCareRx Staff Veterinarian DVM

Thanksgiving is always a fun time -- as well as a very hectic one. Here are a few ways you can make sure that your pet has a safe Thanksgiving while partaking in all of the fun that comes along with the holiday season.

Thanksgiving is great for spending extra time at home with your furry friends, but beware -- sometimes all the excitement and fatty foods can lead to a stomach ache. As you prepare for your Turkey Day feast, keep the following Thanksgiving safety tips in mind. Youโ€™ll be sure to have a happy holiday with your cat or dog.

Thanksgiving Foods Can Be Hazardous to Pets

Unfortunately, holiday foods are full of hidden dangers, and some are poisonous to cats and dogs. Foods like onion, garlic, grapes, xylitol sweetener, salt, chocolate, raw bread dough, and alcohol are all bad news for cats and dogs. Even if you avoid these foods, feeding lots of high-fat table scraps can lead to a stomach upset or vomiting. Turkey and chicken have other hidden risks, like the hollow bones that can splinter if eaten, and cause major damage.

It's better to save the good stuff for yourself and let your pet stick to their normal diet. Avoid sharing table scraps and never give your pet poultry bones. If you want to include your pet in the holiday meal, look for special pumpkin or sweet potato pet treats. Or instead of focusing on food, take the opportunity to go on a couple more walks while you're at home and make it a healthy holiday for your pet.

Managing Visitors and Potential Stress

This is the time of year to make sure your petโ€™s collar, with ID tag, is always on. Frequent visitors can be stressful for pets and the coming and going can lead to runaways. Make sure your cat or dog is secure when you answer the door and do some hand-smelling introductions to keep pets relaxed. It also helps if there's a back room or quiet space your pet can escape to if they're stressed. Be sure to remind your visitors you are a table-scraps-free houseโ€”no matter how cute your dog is when they beg.

Clean-up Care around the Trash

Garbage never smells as good as around Thanksgiving. At least, to your pets. Make sure that you secure all garbage after cleaning up to avoid your dog or cat getting into it. Spoiled food, or even food left out for a couple hours, can make your pet sick. Pets could also eat aluminum foil and wax paper if food is stuck on it, causing major problems and blockages. To stay safe, keep the lid on your trash can and your pet engaged elsewhere.

Toys to Entertain and Distract

Instead of feeding scraps, spoil your pet with a new toyโ€”maybe even one that dispenses treats while they play with it! With a fun new distraction, your pet can stay occupied while you're entertaining guests. With some holiday pumpkin treats, a place to rest, and a new toy, your cat or dog will be plenty thankful, and wonโ€™t even miss the table scraps.

Hereโ€™s how to have a safe and fun Thanksgiving with your dog

Thanksgiving can be a stressful time, what with cooking the turkey just right to entertaining a more than usual number of house-guests. It can be easy to overlook your petโ€™s needs what with all of these other things demanding your attention. However, in order to prevent any untoward incident involving your pet, it is necessary that you keep an eye out for your dog. Make sure he/she doesnโ€™t swallow any food i.e. harmful for them or get too worked up about all of these new people crowding your house. Here, we share some tips and suggestions on how to have a fun Thanksgiving with your dog โ€“

  • Play with him โ€“ Take him out for a walk, play fetch, spend his energy somehow. A tired dog is calm and peaceful. He/she wonโ€™t be much trouble for your guests.
  • Keep his water bowl full โ€“ Make sure your dog is hydrated. Check the level of water in his bowl and refill it from time to time. If there are other dogs slated to come over, set up multiple hydrating stations so none of them run out of water to drink.
  • Donโ€™t feed him Thanksgiving food โ€“ You may be tempted to share scraps from your plate with your four-legged buddy, donโ€™t. Your dogs stomach is not equipped to digest your Thanksgiving turkey well. It will only lead to gastrointestinal complications for him/her.
  • Try to keep him relaxed โ€“ Dogs can develop constipation due to all the holiday stress. Travelling magnifies this. So if you donโ€™t absolutely have to drive your dog with you to your relatives, leave them at home. If your dog is not fond of strangers, let him be by himself and donโ€™t force him to interact with your guests. Also, keep your own stress level down. Your mood can affect your canineโ€™s mood. If youโ€™re stressed out, they will be too.
  • Keep your dog safe โ€“ With your guests constantly coming in and out the door, it might be a good idea to secure your dog in his space. He may decide to slip out unsuspected and get hit by traffic. Most dog-related incidents during Thanksgiving involve road accidents which occur when dogs escape their homes.
  • Keep your Thanksgiving meal refuse out of your trash bins โ€“ Your dog may reach it and find him/herself leftover turkey bone to chew on. It may splinter/puncture their digestive tract.


Sure, Thanksgiving is a busy time. However, donโ€™t neglect your dog. Make sure he feels safe and comforted. Keep away food i.e. poisonous for him and allow him space to retreat to if he feels overwhelmed. Follow these steps and youโ€™re sure to have a happy thanksgiving!

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This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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