- Rachel Doran
A Pet Safe Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is one of the most loved holidays in America, and it’s no surprise why. It’s a day full of friends, family, football, and publicly sanctioned binge-eating. But as notorious as Thanksgiving is for the activities, it’s equally notorious for the amount of preparation involved. The general theme of relaxed enjoyment and careful preparation will echo in our tips for a pet safe Thanksgiving.
Because those adorable faces have certainly earned them a place at the table.
You cannot discuss Thanksgiving without talking turkey. Turkey is the centerpiece in almost every holiday spread. A golden, juicy turkey is what most people and pets will reach for first every year. Here are the things to keep in mind with regards to your pets and turkey.
If you'd like your pet to try some of your homemade turkey, remember that a little bit of turkey can be quite a lot for their stomachs to handle. Remember that many seasonings can cause digestive upset in your pet. So giving them a small, unseasoned bite of turkey is the safest option.
Also, if the turkey is cooked, be sure there are NO bones in any pieces you are sharing with your pets. There are some small bones found within a turkey, so be diligent! Cooked turkey bones, like all cooked bones, can splinter and cause internal injuries to dogs and cats.
While on the topic of turkey, the concern doesn’t end with feeding your pet turkey. Turkey is meat. It smells amazing to our pets. Throwing your turkey carcass in the trash can is a recipe for disaster. You cannot expect your pet to have the mental restraint required to stop from tearing up the garbage to get to the delectable turkey.
After the turkey has been eaten and it’s remains discarded, be sure to take the trash out immediately to prevent the temptation altogether.
Turkey isn’t the only food on the Thanksgiving table that pets may want a bite of. Here are some other foods to watch out for.
Onions and Garlic - Thanksgiving Staples
The use of onion and garlic in Thanksgiving dishes is common. While delicious for us, these small additions can prove very harmful to our furry friends. When chopping up your onion and garlic, make sure particles don't fall to the floor where Fido can slurp up the scraps.
Fatty foods should not be fed to dogs or cats. This includes bacon, butter, turkey skin, and a whole lot of other classic Thanksgiving dishes. Fatty foods can cause digestive distress for pets and can even cause them to over drink and have severe bloat. It’s best to avoid fatty foods all together when treating pets.
Say No to Dough
It may seem obvious, but uncooked dough is also a very bad idea for pets. Most owners will not intentionally give their pets uncooked dough. However; if you’re making homemade rolls or bread, you will have to leave the dough out to proof. That’s when the aroma draws in our pets.
The yeast in dough eats sugar and releases gas; this is how the bread rises. But when your pet nibbles some, the dough continues to work its magic this inside your pet's stomach. This can cause painful bloat and can result in an emergency vet visit. Unfortunately, there have been several reported serious pet emergencies related to dough consumption.
According to the FDA, Xylitol "can have devastating effects on your pet”. This one is especially true for dogs. Many baked goods or other pantry items may contain this common artificial sweetener. Be sure to read all packaging, and when in doubt, avoid sharing the food with your pet.
Your Pet’s Plate
If you choose to involve your pet in the festive eating, and we recommend that you do, it may seem overwhelming to know what they can eat. This list only covers a few of the countless human foods that are dangerous for our pets.
A simple solution is to have pet-specific foods on the ready for your pet. This can mean delegating certain dishes that you are preparing specifically to be pet safe. Or it can be as simple as picking up your pet’s favorite canned food or a new rawhide bone for them to enjoy on the big day.
If you're wanting to make something special and festive for your pet on Thanksgiving, some of our favorite ideas are...
Mashed Sweet Potatoes: Simply steam sweet potatoes and mash them up! If you don't add any seasoning, these are a delicious and pet safe Thanksgiving treat.
Apple Slices: No need to get fancy... just a few crunchy apple slices make for the perfect Thanksgiving dessert.
A Turkey-based Pet Food: Save the human turkey for the humans. Instead of risking digestive upset by feeding your pet some of your own turkey, pick up some pet food at the pet store that is turkey-based. They won't know the difference, and their stomachs (and possibly your wallet after a vet bill) will thank you!
Having a safe and uneventful holiday is all about preparation. Ensure that your pets aren't free to roam where they might get into something they shouldn't. Consider finding something to entertain them (and their appetite) during the big dinner. This will keep them occupied and out of harm's way. And just as your favorite uncle will tell you after the big meal while reclining in front of the football game: The best offense is a good defense.