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Natural Awakenings - Alachua, Citrus, Marion, Sumter Co & The Villages, FL

Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Pets

Oct 31, 2021 09:45PM ● By Nancy DeVault

Thanksgiving inspires reflection on what we cherish. For pet owners, this includes the appreciation of feathered and furry loved ones. While focused on turkey legs, remember to stay attentive to the safety needs of our four-legged friends. Here are some precautions for autumn’s gratitude gatherings:


1. Bowwow buffet: Because some people foods are toxic for animals, consider sticking to a “no table food” approach or giving seasonal, made-for-pet treats. If we to offer Fido a Thanksgiving meal, plate a small amount of skinless, fully-cooked turkey with plain green beans. A lick of potatoes and pumpkin pie may be okay too, especially if dairy-free. Be mindful of potentially risky Thanksgiving ingredients, according to the ASPCA, like nuts topping casseroles which may cause vomiting, diarrhea and pancreatitis in pets; onions, garlic and chives in mashed potatoes which may also cause gastrointestinal irritation, plus red blood cell damage and anemia; and chocolate, raisins and artificial sweeteners (xylitol) in some desserts which could result in abnormal heart rhythm, kidney failure and seizures.


2. Canine clean-up: Ensure that trash bins are snuggly shut to curb a pup’s temptation to dumpster dive for turkey carcasses. Raw meat, fatty bits (including skin) and bones pose the risk of salmonella, digestion issues or worse. While we may be inclined to let the dishes sit to allow for more face time with guests, remove dirty baking dishes from the counter and sink, and stow them in the dishwasher because eggs and yeast in raw dough can lead to life-threatening complications for pets.


3. Hostess hound: Some florals are hazardous to animals, such as amaryllis, baby’s breath, hydrangeas, some ferns and hollies and others. When guests present a hostess gift, position flower vases out of pets’ reach.


4. Festive firefighters: We love seasonal scents like apple cider, cinnamon and pumpkin spice; but fragrant candles can overwhelm pets’ senses and even ignite hazards. When our curious companion is near, use caution lighting candles, toasting marshmallows over an open fire or sipping cocoa beside a fire pit.


5. Tail-wagging time: The season’s time change means darkness comes earlier. Use a reflective collar on walks. While temperatures may have cooled, Florida pavements can still feel hot on delicate paws.


6. Stray away: Hectic holiday celebrations often mean frequent entering or exiting. Stay aware of pets' access to doors and ensure that tag identifications and microchips are up-to-date.


7. Tyke travel: Holiday travel should include plans for pets, too. Health certificates and therapy animal requirements vary by state and country. Confirm that booked accommodations are pet-friendly, and if boarding a pet, ask the veterinarian about the risk of canine flu and other concerns. Car-riding restraints like pet seat belts, carriers or barriers can be useful on road trips.


8. Furry fashion: If we love dressing up our fur baby, we might be eyeing a pilgrim or turkey costume for Thanksgiving. Animal attire should not be too snug or baggy, restrict mobility or breathing, or hinder the ability to go to the bathroom or communicate. Costumes should be free of choking hazards (i.e., beads, feather, etc.).


If we suspect that our pet has ingested a harmful ingredient, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.