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Thanksgiving and pets: Holiday do's and don’ts

Thanksgiving and pets: Holiday do's and don’ts

Thanksgiving is a day of family, fun, and feasting. But those of us with pets should be mindful that not all human foods and activities are good for our furry companions. So here are some Thanksgiving safety tips for pets to ensure our four-legged friends have a safe and fun day too.

Thanksgiving Do’s for your Pet

Make Some Turkey Day Treats for Your Pet. Though some Thanksgiving foods are not pet-safe, many are. And the internet is packed with quick and easy recipes that let your four-legged friends share in the holiday feast. For example, bake up some chicken dog biscuits, Martha Stewart style. Or cook up some mini pumpkin pies (a.k.a. pup-kin pies) that are both pet-safe and delicious!



Get Out and Exercise with Your Pet. Let’s face it, after a bit of overindulgence, we could all use a little exercise. Try taking your pup out for a little romp, and burn off some of those extra calories. 

Editor’s Note: Expecting cold winter weather this Thanksgiving? Try these tips for winterizing your pet, and enjoy cold weather fun, while staying warm.

Set Aside Some Snuggle Time. There’s nothing like curling up in front of the fire (or the television) with your pet. Set aside a little time after the holiday chaos subsides to have some downtime with your furry pals.

Do a Little Homework. If you’re concerned that a human food might be bad for your pet, do some online research before offering it to your pet. For example, veterinarian Dr. Lee cautions against sharing leftover turkey with pets.

Thanksgiving Don’ts for your Pet

Don’t Assume “If we can eat it, they can too.” Many foods that are healthy for humans, aren’t good for our companion animals. Avoid turkey bones: Delicate bones can splinter in the digestive tract and large bones can become stuck and require surgical removal. Avoid giving your pets foods containing onions or garlic, as these can impede the ability of your dog’s red blood cells to carry oxygen.

Don’t Pile on the Fats. You may think there’s little harm in a few table scraps, but buttered mashed potatoes, turkey skin, and gravy are high-fat but traditional Thanksgiving foods that can cause digestive problems in dogs. And in sufficient quantities, fatty foods can result in a case of pancreatitis and an urgent trip to the veterinarian. So, keep it lean.

Don't Serve Your Pets Alcohol or Chocolate. These foods might seem like a treat for us, but they can play havoc with a pet’s health. Since animals don’t encounter these foods in nature, their bodies don’t process them well, and the results can be life-threatening. 

Smaller Isn’t Always Safer. Some foods like grapes, raisins, and macadamia nuts are unsafe for pets even in small quantities. Grapes and raisins can stress the kidneys and macadamias can cause neurologic issues in dogs. So, if these are on your holiday table or baked into your stuffing or desserts, best keep them out of reach from pets.

We hope these tips will help you and your pets enjoy a safe and joyful Thanksgiving holiday!

Looking for more ways to show your gratitude for your pet this Thanksgiving? Here are some DIY ways to show your pet your thankful.

Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.

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