Tips for a Safe Thanksgiving

Big shepherd dog stealing from table in the kitchen

The mouth-watering smells of turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie slowly wafting through the house this Thanksgiving is enough to drive you (and your pets) crazy! However, with delicious human food comes serious risk for your pets. Prairie Ridge Veterinary Clinic is here to provide owners with some Thanksgiving Pet Safety Tips to pet-proof your home this holiday season and keep your furr-amily safe from hazardous foods.

Pet-Proofing is Easy

  • Keep pets out of the kitchen or crate them in a room where they are comfortable. Give them food-stuffable toys or other interactive toys to help prevent boredom and keep them busy.
  • Do not allow family and friends to feed your pets table scraps. Some people are not familiar with how poisonous some common household foods are to animals. Have designated healthy and safe treats available (a small piece of cheese or carrot) for family members to give infrequently.
  • Be sure to empty the trash occasionally through the day or keep garbage containers covered securely. Somehow, sneaky pets are excellent at finding ways to get leftovers they shouldn’t have such as, turkey skin and bones, out of the garbage can. “Garbage gut” can cause a variety of problems such as gastroenteritis (abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea) pancreatitis (severe inflammation of the pancreas) and even a gastrointestinal blockage.

Thanksgiving Treats to Share

Not all Thanksgiving foods are dangerous and after all, it’s a holiday for your pets too! Here are some safe, non-toxic treats you can give your cat or dog this holiday season.

  • Small amounts of turkey breast are safe for pets. Ideally, avoid any fatty snacks such as turkey skin, gravy, and trimmings as these can over stimulate the pancreas and cause pancreatitis.
  • Vegetables are healthy for pets also. Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery, and green beans are all healthy treat choices for pets as long as they are not slathered in fatty gravy and butter.
  • Small pieces of baked bread are a relatively low-calorie treat for dogs but keep unbaked dough out of reach as this can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), bloat, and alcohol poisoning.
  • Minute amounts of cooked salmon are okay to give both cats and dogs. Be mindful of bones if you decide to give your pet any type of cooked fish.
  • Say cheese! Small amounts of cheese are okay for both dogs and cats, in moderation. There is a minimal amount of lactose in cheese versus milk so the occasional piece of cheese is safe.

Absolutely Not!

Be absolutely certain your house guests are aware what they can and cannot feed your pet. Make sure they do not offer any of the following foods.

  • Xylitol is a natural sugar-free sweetener that is very popular in a variety of foods such as baked goods, peanut butter, gum, and mints. Always check the label to make sure foods you give your dog or cat are free of this product.
  • Fatty scraps such as gravy and turkey skin can cause pancreatitis and gastroenteritis. When in doubt, do not feed it to your pet!
  • Be sure to keep all alcoholic beverages up and away from pets. Accidental consumption can result in slowed respiration, life-threatening low blood sugar and severe coma in dogs.

Be a Watchdog

Knowing what foods to avoid and the warning signs of potential illnesses (vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, visible pain, weakness) is a great way to watch out for your pet this Thankgiving. Show thanks to your furry family members by giving small amounts of these non-toxic treats but remember, giving too much of a good thing can result in gastroenteritis, colitis, pancreatitis, or worse. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to call us at 309-543-2091. From your friends at Prairie Ridge Veterinary Clinic, have a Happy Thanksgiving!