Thanksgiving Pet Safety: Foods to Keep Away from Your Pets

Thanksgiving Pet Safety: Foods to Keep Away from Your Pets

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Thanksgiving, a day filled with love, laughter, and gratitude, is also a time when tables are adorned with a vast array of delicious meals. It's quite tempting to share the bounty with our beloved pets, who may be equally excited about the spreads of yummy dishes. But remember, not all human foods are safe for them. While you’re ready to dive into your Thanksgiving feast, it’s crucial that we prioritize our pets’ safety and well-being.

Pet-Friendly Thanksgiving Foods

You’ll be heartened to know that some Thanksgiving foods are safe to share with your pets. Let’s cover the pet-friendly dishes first.

  • Turkey: The star of Thanksgiving, turkey, can be a tasty treat for your pet as well. Make sure it’s well-cooked and be sure to remove any skin or bones before you serve it to your pet. Avoid giving them any turkey with spices, garlic, or onions. Plain, lean, white meat is the best for our furry allies.
  • Sweet Potatoes: These are a healthy alternative and are commonly found in many dog foods. Just be sure they're prepared plain, without any added butter, sugar, or marshmallows.
  • Green Beans: A staple side dish, green beans, are safe for pets if offered in moderation. Just like sweet potatoes, serve them plain without any added seasoning or condiments.
  • Pumpkin: A Thanksgiving classic, pure canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling), is a pet delight and offers digestive benefits.

Knowing what foods are safe for your pets can make the holiday more enjoyable for everyone. So while you and your family enjoy the Thanksgiving feast, your pets, too, can partake in the festivities with their own safe and delicious meal. Stay tuned as we identify the potentially dangerous foods to avoid, in the name of pet safety this Thanksgiving.

Foods to Avoid for Pet Safety

As we commence our holiday season with the annual Thanksgiving feast, it is crucial to be mindful about what our pets ingest. Many traditional holiday foods can cause harm, and they must be kept away from pets. The following list identifies some potentially dangerous food items that you should keep away from your pets.

Chocolate and Candy

Most pet owners are aware chocolates are a big no-no for dogs. This is because it contains theobromine, a chemical that is toxic to them. Even a small amount can cause an upset stomach, while larger quantities can lead to severe health issues like seizures and heart problems. Candy, especially those sweetened with xylitol, can also be harmful. Xylitol can cause a sudden drop in your pet's blood sugar, leading to loss of coordination and seizures. It's best to ensure all chocolates and candies remain out of your pet's reach.

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic, including their powdered forms, can be hazardous for both dogs and cats as they can significantly damage red blood cells, leading to anemia. While small, occasional intake may not cause immediate issues, consumption in large amounts or regular inclusions in meals can be dangerous. Remember, onion and garlic toxicity can have delayed symptoms so be on the watch for lethargy, weakness, and orange or dark red urine.

Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and raisins may seem like harmless treats, but they are actually very toxic to pets. There isn’t necessarily a safe amount, and each pet may react differently. Consuming grapes and raisins can lead to rapid kidney failure in dogs and potentially cats too. Your pet might vomit or be unusually quiet or tire easily after eating these fruits.


Like their human counterparts, pets can suffer from alcohol poisoning too. Even a small amount can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, or even result in death. So, it's best to keep all alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol away from pets.

Bones and Fat Trimmings

Bones from your Thanksgiving turkey or chicken might seem like a tasty treat for your dog, but they can be dangerous. Small bones can splinter and cause blockage or cuts in your dog's digestive system. Larger bones might not splinter as easily, but they can still create the risk of an intestinal blockage. Fat trimmings can lead to not only obesity but also pancreatitis in pets. Therefore, avoid giving your pet fatty foods or bones, instead stick to their regular dog chews and treats.

Bread Dough

While baking for the holiday, be sure to keep raw bread dough out of the reach of your pets. The yeast in dough can cause it to keep expanding in your pet's stomach, leading to bloating and severe discomfort. It could also lead to alcohol toxicosis due to the fermenting yeast.

Just as it’s important to avoid the above foods, it’s equally critical to educate any visitors you might be expecting over the holidays. Kindly remind them about foods that are dangerous to dogs and cats. With these precautions in mind, both you and your furry friends can have a safe and fulfilling Thanksgiving. Remember, if you suspect your pet has eaten any of these dangerous foods, please contact your vet or pet poison control immediately.

Keeping Your Pets Safe and Happy during Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving should equally be a time of joy and cheer for our furry friends. Here are some important guidelines to ensure your pets stay happy and healthy during this festive season.

Secure Food and Trash

Pets have a knack for getting into things they shouldn’t. Hence, it's essential to keep your Thanksgiving food and trash secured and out of their reach. A multitude of Thanksgiving foods can be harmful if ingested by your pets. Fatty foods, such as turkey skin and gravy, can cause pancreatitis, while sweets and baked goods can lead to obesity, dental issues, and diabetes.

To prevent any untoward incidents from happening:

  • Always keep food and drinks out of paw's reach, ideally in closed containers or up on high shelves.
    - Dispose of trash promptly in a sealed bin. Turkey bones, plastic food wrap, and other garbage can be tempting to your pets but can cause choking hazards and intestinal blockage.

If they do get into harmful foods or trash, we have you covered. Our Diarrhea PCR panels test for the most critical bacteria, viruses and parasites.

Educate Guests

A big part of keeping your pets safe during Thanksgiving is informing your guests about pet-friendly and non-pet-friendly foods. Politely remind them not to feed your pets, as they may inadvertently give them something harmful.

Here are some points to discuss with your guests:

- Where your pet is allowed to roam during the gathering.
- The importance of keeping exterior doors closed to prevent pets from running out.
- Sharing a list of toxic foods, such as chocolate, grapes, onions, and some artificial sweeteners like xylitol.

Create a Safe Space

Thanksgiving can sometimes be overwhelming for pets with all the noise, guests, and changes in their routine. Creating a safe and quiet space for your pets can go a long way in reducing their stress.

Consider the following to create a pet-friendly sanctuary:

- Use a room that’s normally a favorite place for your pet, stocked with their favorite toys and comfortable bedding.
- Let your pet retreat to this safe space when they feel anxious or when the festivities are at peak.
- Keep checking on your pet regularly, offer comfort, and ensure they have access to fresh water and their usual pet food.

Offer Pet-Safe Alternatives

Your pets can partake in the Thanksgiving feast too, as long as it's pet-friendly! Offer them bits of plain cooked turkey, vegetables like carrots and green beans, and plain pumpkin.

Here are a few pet-safe Thanksgiving treats:

- Cooked, boneless pieces of turkey.
- A few bites of mashed potatoes without gravy or butter.
- Carrots, peas, and green beans without seasoning.
- Apple slices, pumpkin, or sweet potatoes in moderation.

Remember, treats should not make up more than 10% of your pet's daily caloric intake, and when in doubt, always consult with your vet.

By incorporating these Thanksgiving pet safety tips, you can make sure that you, your family, and your pets all enjoy a safe and memorable holiday.

In conclusion, ensuring the safety of our pets during Thanksgiving involves a keen understanding of what is safe and what is not for them to consume. Always remember:

- Keep your trash bins secured
- Supervise your pet's activity closely
- Avoid feeding your pet chocolate, garlic, onion, currants, raisins, and other foods listed above
- Encourage guests not to feed your pet without your permission

Thanksgiving is a celebration meant for everyone in your household, including your beloved pets. Let's give them the love and safety they deserve on this special occasion, and always.

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