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Your Thanksgiving Pet Safety Guide

Thanksgiving is a time for gathering with family and friends - and for eating all the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie you can. But the same things we love about the holiday can be dangerous to our dogs. Here's a quick Thanksgiving safety guide to help keep you and your pets out of trouble. Trust us, your dogs will thank you:

Keeping Your Pup Safe Around Food

One of the most iconic parts of Thanksgiving is the dinner. But just because it's delicious, doesn't mean it's good for our pets. Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to Thanksgiving food:

1. Turkey

A small amount of Turkey can be okay to feed your dog, but only if it's cooked properly, boneless, skinless and unseasoned. If you do feed your dog turkey, opt for white meat, as it's blander and easier to digest. Make sure to cut it into bite-size pieces to avoid becoming a choking hazard. Always feed any safe foods in moderation to avoid stomach upset and adding unnecessary calories.

Turkey skin, however, should not be fed to your dog. It's fatty and difficult to digest in general, but on Thanksgiving it's even worse for your pup. This is because it's full of butter, oils and spices, which are not good for dogs to eat. Fatty foods like turkey skin (and sometimes even the meat) can cause diarrhea and vomiting, or even pancreatitis, in dogs.

2. Bones

Though it may be tempting to give as something to chew on, do not feed your dog any bones from your Thanksgiving turkey (or whatever poultry you choose to serve). They are a choking hazard and can cause stomach obstruction. Furthermore, poultry bones are hollow and thus break easily, which means they can end up with sharp edges that could hurt your pup or pierce their intestines.

3. Sides

Side dishes are not good for your dog in the same way that turkey skin isn't. They are fatty and often prepared with butter, oils and seasoning. Giving your dog these foods can cause diarrhea and vomiting, or even pancreatitis. So unless you're preparing your sweet potato or yams without any added fats or spices, skip sharing some with your pup. 

4. Dessert

Desserts are off-limits as well, as most contain some type of food that's toxic to dogs (like chocolate, raisins or the artificial sweetener xylitol). And although it's safe for dogs to eat pumpkin, the same can't be said for pumpkin pie. This is because of the added sugars and spices, which can be harmful to your dog. In general, keep your Thanksgiving desserts out of your pet's reach.

5. Guests

Thanksgiving is often celebrated with family and friends, who may not know what dogs can and can't eat. They mean well, but may give your dog a treat from the table. To avoid this, educate your guests and be sure to have someone watch any children. 

Pro Tip: Give your dog something to work on (such as made-for-dogs chewing bones, like bully sticks, or puzzle toys) during dinner so they'll be occupied during the meal.

Keep Your Pup Safe In The Kitchen

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times of the year for your kitchen and because of that, you'll want to keep your pup safe around it. Here are some ways to do that:

1. Barricade the Kitchen

During Thanksgiving, there's going to be lots of prep, raw ingredients, hot dishes and foot traffic in the kitchen. Your dog will likely try to be in there with you, given dogs follow their humans almost everywhere and also tend to want to be where the food is. So it may be best to simply barricade off your kitchen so your dog isn't at risk of being burned, cut or injured. Plus, it will reduce the risk that you injure yourself tripping over him or her.

2. No Bread Dough

Bread is often a big part of Thanksgiving cooking. But raw yeast and bread dough can be dangerous to your pets. If your dog ingests some, the yeast will convert sugars in the dough to carbon dioxide gas and alcohol in his or her stomach. This can cause your pup to be bloated and drunk, which can become life-threatening and require hospitalization.

3. Beware When Baking

Thanksgiving dinner isn't complete without dessert and many people like to bake their own. If you're going to be baking pies or cakes, keep your dog away from the batter. This is especially important if it has raw eggs, which can contain salmonella bacteria and lead to food poisoning.

4. Dispose of Foil and Plastic Wrap

Baking and cooking often require supplies like aluminum foil and plastic wrap. Make sure to dispose of these when you're done to avoid your dog getting ahold of them. Otherwise your dog may ingest fatty foods off them or swallow them, which can be a choking hazard or cause intestinal blockage.

5. Secure The Garbage Gan

Dogs are going to follow their nose to the food, even if it's in the trash. Be sure to secure your garbage can so your dog can't get into it and eat anything they shouldn't. It may be a good idea to move the trash into the garage or lock it behind a door to ensure your pet can't reach it.

Keeping Your Pup Safe During Parties

Many people throw parties on Thanksgiving or have family and friends stay with them. Here are a few ways to keep your pet safe in these situations:


When people host parties, they often get extra festive with decorations. Some decor, however, can be dangerous to pets. Keep all decorations (such as glass ornaments, plastic decor, pine cones, wreaths, etc.) out of your dog's reach. Your dog may want to chew them, which can be a choking hazard or cause intestinal obstruction or laceration. In addition, keep candles away from your dog and never leave him or her alone when they're lit, as that could result in burns to your dog or a fire. 

2. Holiday Plants

People also like to use holiday plants as part of their decor, but many of them are toxic to dogs. Most dogs will try to eat just about anything, but plants like grass can actually help ease their stomach. Unfortunately, dogs can't  differentiate between safe plants and toxic ones. Because of this, any holiday plants should be kept out of reach or even secured in another room that your dog can't go into. A few toxic holiday plants include: Poinsettias, holly berries, mistletoe, Cedar Christmas trees, amaryllis, Baby’s Breath, Sweet William, certain ferns, hydrangeas and more.

3. Stress From Guests 

Dogs have unique personalities, which means some do well with new people and crowds while others do not. If your dog is more shy and timid, you may want to separate him or her in another room with a crate and a favorite toy. This can reduce stress and prevent possible conflict or injury.

4. Entrances and Exits

If your pet is comfortable with guests, you may keep them around the action. But you'll want to keep an eye on them and make sure they don't escape when guests enter or exit your home. It may be a good idea to keep your pet secured in another room until all guests have arrived, and again when people are leaving. 

5. Update ID Tags and Microchips

Make sure your pet's identification tags and microchips have been updated. This will provide an extra precaution in case they do escape. You may have already updated them in preparation for Halloween, but if not, Thanksgiving provides another great opportunity to do so. The most important information to update is your contact information.

Keeping Your Pup Safe With Travel

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