Safety Tips for Turkey Day

As if Aunt Edna’s giblet stuffing for the turkey wasn’t enough to worry about on Thanksgiving…then there’s your dog or cat.
Dogs and some cats enjoy the revelry at least as much as we do, with bits of this and that dropping on the floor, and delectable smells wafting around the house. But Thanksgiving shouldn’t be a free-for-all. There are certain items your pets should really avoid.
According to a Petfinder article, veterinarians experience an increased number of office calls due to digestive problems after the holidays. We’ve compiled a list of tips that will help you and your pet get through Thanksgiving safely.
Stuff Your Turkey, Not Your Pet
It’s easy to want to give your dog or cat a plate full of turkey, mashed potatoes, and whatever else you think they might enjoy. But that’s a bad idea. Overindulging in fatty foods can lead to an upset stomach, diarrhea, or pancreatitis. A few bites of skinless turkey on a healthy pet’s normal food is fine, but resist pleading for more.
Keep ‘Em Busy
For dogs, put a bit of his regular food in a Kong, and then stuff a little boneless, skinless turkey, sweet potatoes and gravy in the Kong (very similar to what we offer at Morris Animal Inn for Thanksgiving boarders!). It’s not much food, but it will keep him occupied for a long time. For cats, you might consider offering some catnip in a safe, quiet room.


Tire ‘Em Out
A dog who has been on a big walk or fetched the ball a zillion times, or a cat who has played several sessions of bird or mouse catching will be much more likely to run out of energy during the feast than one who’s been idle all day. The bottom line: a tired pet is a good pet on Thanksgiving.
No Bones About It
Cooked turkey bones are dangerous to your pets. They’re potential choking or digestive hazards, so don’t leave plates with bones lying around. Put plates in an unreachable area if you can’t dispose of everything properly right away.
Sage Wisdom
Sage and some other herbs used on holidays like Thanksgiving have essential oils that can cause tummy upset and central nervous system depression if a pet eats them in large quantities. The average dog or cat isn’t going to gobble down a fistful of sage, but keep herbs out of reach just in case.
Don’t Cry Over Onions
Onions are toxic to dogs and cats. They can lead to a dangerous form of anemia that may not be detected for days. Make sure your pets stay away from the pearly whites, yellows, and reds.
Don’t Give Her the Raw Deal
Unless your pet is already on a raw diet, we don’t recommend plopping a piece of raw turkey in her bowl (the change from her regular food might cause an upset stomach). But more importantly, keep your pets away from uncooked dough for bread, rolls or pastries. Once raw dough is ingested, it will rise in your pet’s stomach, potentially causing swelling, pain, vomiting and bloating—conditions that may send you and your pet to the ER.
Avoid Yappy Hour
Some pets actually seem to enjoy alcoholic drinks. Walk away from your drink that’s set on the coffee table, and Lulu may get lit. Pets and booze are a bad mix. Your pet may not do anything embarrassing she’ll regret in the morning, but she could become disoriented and quite ill. Too much alcohol can even lead to a coma and death, so watch where you – and others – put their drinks.
By following a few basic tips, your dog will enjoy a fun, safe Thanksgiving. Now if only you could avoid Aunt Edna’s stuffing…
*Sources: Petfinder, Modern Dog Magazine