While the sight and smell of Thanksgiving dinner might be irresistible to your pet, most things on the holiday table will do him more harm than good. From eating seasoned meat to swallowing turkey bones to lapping up unattended alcoholic beverages, Thanksgiving presents numerous opportunities for trouble for your dog or cat. It’s up to you to be extra vigilant on this holiday to prevent an accident or illness that neither you nor your pet will appreciate.
It shouldn’t be a big surprise that the biggest attraction of the day is often the most dangerous. If you do decide to share a piece of turkey with your dog or cat, make absolutely certain that it doesn’t contain any bones. It’s also essential that the meat not be raw or undercooked to avoid a case of food poisoning. Even if your dog normally loves getting new bones, avoid the temptation to give her the leftover turkey carcass. It contains too many small bones that your dog doesn’t have the ability to digest properly.
Foods to Avoid
While a small piece of well-cooked boneless turkey won’t cause any harm, some traditional Thanksgiving foods are off-limits for pets. These include:
- Avocado: Poisons can linger in the pit and leaves of an avocado fruit that is toxic enough to cause fluid to accumulate in the lungs, abdomen, pancreas, and heart of animals. Oxygen deprivation can occur in severe cases and cause death.
- Bread Dough: If your pet consumes raw bread dough, the yeast converts the sugars it contains into alcohol and carbon dioxide gas. This can result in bloating as well as drunkenness in dogs and cats. Although it may seem amusing, it’s a serious situation that requires immediate treatment.
- Cake: Be sure to keep your pet out of the kitchen if you intend to make a cake or other baked goods using raw eggs. Unfortunately, ingesting uncooked eggs can lead to food poisoning if they contain salmonella.
- Garlic and Onions: These both contain sulfides, a chemical that can damage red blood cells in pets. Garlic and onion are especially toxic to cats as they can cause anemia. It’s best to stay away from anything containing these ingredients, even if it’s only in powder form.
- Grapes and Raisins: If you add either of these to salads, be sure to keep them out of your pet’s reach while preparing them. The small size presents a choking hazard in addition to increasing the risk of kidney damage.
Distract Your Pet with a Feast of His Own
While the family is busy eating and socializing in the dining room, set up a small area in another room just for your pet. To keep his mind off what is happening within smelling distance, provide your dog with new chew toys and stuff them full of safe food items such as boneless turkey. For cats, include a tasty treat or two in a dish along with some new toys. You may need to select a room where you can close the door until everyone has finished their Thanksgiving dinner.
If an urgent situation does arise, please view our emergency information page for instructions on how to seek care for your pet.