Thanksgiving Safety Tips

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and it can be tempting to show your thanks to your pets by spoiling them with delicious turkey — or bits from the whole meal. While your furry friend would love this idea, overindulgence can pose risks to their health. We have a list of some foods to avoid giving your pet this holiday season. 

  • Uncooked Turkey: This can contain harmful salmonella bacteria, so if you give your pet a small bite of turkey, make sure it’s well cooked. You’ll also want to avoid giving them turkey bones, which can be problematic for the digestive tract and can cause choking.
  • Bread or Dessert Dough: When a dog or cat eats dough, there is not only a risk of salmonella, but bloating and even drunkenness. Products with raw yeast undergo alcoholic fermentation, when the microscopic fungus converts sugar into carbon dioxide and alcohol. Essentially, a bite of raw dough acts like a sip of beer for your pet. This is extremely dangerous and could lead to hospitalization.
  • Unattended leftovers: Any food aware pet owner knows their “innocent” fur baby will eat from the dinner plates if given the opportunity. Ensure all human food is out of reach and attended to when the pet is in the room. 
  • Desserts: Let them eat cake! If they stand on two legs, of course. Many desserts contain artificial sweeteners like xylitol, which a cat or dog cannot digest properly, leading to low blood sugar and liver damage. Of course, keep chocolate off the menu as well, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, panting or restlessness, excessive urination, and a racing heart rate. Even without these substances, foods with high sugar increase the risk of diabetes for your pet. 
  • Too Much Turkey!! An abundance of fatty turkey in a pet’s diet poses a high risk for pancreatitis, so they should not be given more than a few small bites. Read more about pancreatitis here.

So what can you give them?

If you’d like all family members, two or four-legged, to participate in the holiday feast, offer them bones or treats made specifically for dogs or cats. You can also add a few small bites of turkey, vegetables, and gravy into their normal dinner — just be careful they don’t eat much more than their typical diet. 

Besides the delicious Thanksgiving dinner, many people enjoy decorating their home in fall festivities to celebrate. We encourage this, but remind all pet owners to be mindful of certain materials that can be harmful for pets and should stay away from them at all times. 

  • Lit candles
  • Toxic plants or floral arrangements: see ASPCA’s full list
  • Fake leaves or pumpkins
  • Contents of trash cans

If your pet does ingest something unsafe, call the Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435. You can also visit Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital (call at 303-424-3325), which provides high quality emergency care and will be open on the holiday.

With these safety tips in mind, the Thanksgiving holiday is bound to be a success, stamped with approval from your thankful cat or dog. Happy Paw-lidays!