How to Keep Your Pet Safe This Thanksgiving

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio

Are you going to be hosting Thanksgiving dinner at your home this year? Then it’s time to think about the ways that your pets could be affected. That’s right: a day that’s all about family and food for you could be stressful or even harmful to your cats and dogs if you aren’t careful. The information below discusses some of the ways to keep your pets safe this Thanksgiving.


Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Pets

Here are some Thanksgiving pet safety tips to help ensure your furry friends will enjoy this holiday without getting hurt or sick.

Many Thanksgiving Foods Are Harmful to Pets

Thanksgiving is a day for feasting on your favorite foods, and your dog or cat might get excited when they see all of the tasty treats. Will they be able to resist the temptation, or will they try to sneak a bite when you aren’t looking? This is definitely something to be concerned about because there are many foods that can be harmful or toxic to dogs and cats.

Here are some of the foods that should be kept away from pets:

  • Turkey skin and turkey bones
  • Yeast dough
  • Onions
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Chocolate
  • Foods that contain xylitol

Basically, the foods you indulge in for Thanksgiving dinner and dessert may be inappropriate for your dog or cat because of fat content, ingredients, or seasonings.

To play it safe, include your pet in the festivities by giving them treats that are made specifically for them. Simple treats with nutritious ingredients can keep them satisfied and happy, and might make them less likely to try to go after your food.

As an example, there are freeze dried turkey treats like Whole Life Pet Just One Ingredient Turkey Treats For Cats. These contain only human grade turkey breast, so your kitty can dig in and you can feel good about giving them something that’s safe for them to eat.  

And for canines, there’s Whole Life Pet Just One Ingredient Turkey Treats For Dogs. These one-ingredient freeze dried treats feature human grade turkey breast, without any allergens, additives, or preservatives.

No matter what, watch for symptoms that your pet ate something they shouldn’t have (e.g., diarrhea, vomiting, and changes in appetite or behavior). If this occurs, seek veterinary care right away.

Your Guests Might Cause Your Pets to Feel Stressed

With the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving, dogs and cats can become uneasy. The day could be tough on pets who aren’t used to having a lot of people in the house or who tend to feel frightened when exposed to people they don’t know well. Start by keeping their routine as normal as possible so they won’t feel the added stress of their daily activities being different too. 

As guests arrive, there might also be a risk of your cat or dog running out or sneaking out while the door is open, so know where your pet is at all times, and implement strategies to prevent them from rushing the door.   

To maintain your sanity and keep your pets safe, consider putting them in a room where they’ll feel comfortable and secure. Play calming music, give your pet a cozy place to rest and plenty of toys to play with, and check in on them often. Also, feed them when they’d normally be fed – again, to maintain their routine.

Depending on your pet, they might do better staying in a separate room away from everyone or they might prefer being near the family. Once all of your guests have arrived and settled in, your dog or cat might feel confident enough to interact with everyone, at which point you want to be sure your guests know not to give them any food from the table.

Decorate for Thanksgiving with Your Pets in Mind

When preparing for Thanksgiving, choose decorations that are safe for your furry companions. Avoid putting out décor that your dog or cat might be tempted to chew on or eat, and beware that some decorations might pose choking hazards.

If you’re planning on decorating with flowers and plants, confirm that they aren’t toxic to cats or dogs. There are many beautiful plants that aren’t toxic to pets, so don’t worry, you can still make your home appear warm and welcoming for this special day. To prevent your pet from accessing plants or floral arrangements, and potentially chewing on them or knocking them over, place them in areas that they can’t reach.

Lighting a scented candle might also be on your radar for Thanksgiving, but bear in mind that some fragrances and essential oils can be harmful to pets. Plus, with lit candles, there’s also the risk of fire if your pet accidentally knocks them over.

Plan Ahead to Enjoy This Holiday of Gratitude

The last thing you want is to end up at the emergency vet with your pet on Thanksgiving, so learn about the risks and then do whatever you can to avoid them. From the food your pet eats to the interactions they have with guests, there are surprisingly easy ways to ensure your pet won’t ingest anything toxic, run out of the house and get lost, or experience high levels of stress.  

Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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