Safety Tips

Thanksgiving – a time for family reunions, feasting and giving thanks for all you have. It’s essentially a human occasion, though your pets are bound to notice the increased activity and comings and goings of people. They will also be very much aware of delicious cooking smells emanating from the kitchen, and while it’s only right and proper that you and your family have fun and enjoy the occasion, spare a thought for your pet who doesn’t understand Thanksgiving in quite the same way as you do.

Animals have a strong interest in food, and if it smells good, they will probably be very happy to eat it. That doesn’t necessarily mean it is good for them. Foods like fat, poultry skin, such as turkey skin, and gravy are not good for pets. Oh sure – they will eat it with apparent delight, but on the mild side, these types of food can cause vomiting or diarrhea. On the serious side, they can cause things like pancreatitis, a condition where the pancreas gets severely inflamed, resulting in considerable discomfort for your pet. It can even be life-threatening.

When Thanksgiving is over and the turkey has been devoured by all the family, there are usually a lot of bones left over. You can boil them up to make a tasty stock for a soup, or you can give them to your pet. Wrong! Never give cooked poultry bones to your dog or cat. Unlike the bones from cattle, sheep or pigs, poultry bones are much more liable to splinter, creating sharp spikes that can seriously damage the inside parts of your pet.

Poultry bones can also cause intestinal upsets in your pet, which can cause them considerable discomfort. Splintered bones can cause damage to the intestines, which in turn can cause internal infection or blockage. It can even result in the death of your pet if appropriate treatment is not administered properly.


This leads on to the proper disposal of Thanksgiving food parts and packaging. Plastic bags that have held a turkey or chicken will smell great to a dog or cat. They might chew or even eat parts of it with bad results. The same applies to string or elastic bands that have been used to secure poultry, or indeed any kind of food. Your pet will be attracted to the smells lingering on these items, so be sure to dispose of them properly where your pet cannot get at them.

Of course, it isn’t just turkey that is consumed at Thanksgiving. There are lots of other foods that a family will typically have that can be bad, or even dangerous, to your pet. Chocolate tastes really good to us humans, and it tastes equally good to your pet dog or cat too. Don’t be tempted, though. Dogs in particular have a problem with theobromine, a substance found in chocolate, which can cause considerable discomfort to your pet at best, and even possibly death.

The annual Thanksgiving celebrations are an occasion that every American family looks forward to. Enjoy them by all means, but keep the food on the table, and not under it where your pet might be lurking. Giving a food morsel to your pet might seem like a kind and generous thing to do, but it could be a big mistake. However, a few slices of lean, fatless and boneless turkey for your pet is fine, but be careful with everything else.

If you enjoyed reading this year’s Thanksgiving Safety Tips article, you will enjoy this article as well.  5 Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe on Thanksgiving