Planning a Pet-Safe Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving festivities can pose several dangers for your pet, and an emergency veterinary visit can ruin your family gathering. Our Fremont Animal Hospital team wants to help with advice to help you plan a pet-safe Thanksgiving and protect your four-legged friend.

Provide pet-safe treats

Any sudden change in your pet’s diet can cause gastrointestinal (GI) upset, and some traditional Thanksgiving dishes are toxic to pets. You don’t want your pet eating harmful food, but if you don’t provide acceptable treats, they may feel left out, and attempt to sneak an unsanctioned morsel. Problematic Thanksgiving foods include:

  • Turkey — The turkey skin and dark meat are high in fat, which can trigger pancreatitis, a potentially life-threatening condition. In addition, cooked turkey bones are brittle, and can easily splinter and damage your pet’s mouth or GI tract. 
  • Allium vegetables Allium family vegetables, which include onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, and chives, contain a toxin that damages a pet’s red blood cells, leading to anemia.
  • Grapes — Grapes, raisins, and currants can cause kidney failure in pets.
  • Uncooked dough — If ingested, uncooked yeast dough can expand in your pet’s stomach, causing dangerous bloating. In addition, the fermentation process can produce alcohol and lead to alcohol poisoning.
  • Chocolate — Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which stimulate a pet’s central nervous system. Dark chocolate is the most dangerous.

Prevent your pet from dumpster diving

Prevent dumpster diving by securing all trash in sturdy trash bags in sealed containers. In addition to finding bones and toxic foods in the trash, your pet may encounter other dangerous items, such as:

  • Plastic wrap — Your pet may attempt to eat the food vestiges left on the plastic wrap used to cover many dishes, and accidentally ingest the substance, causing a GI obstruction. This can be difficult to diagnose, since the plastic wrap can’t be easily imaged by X-ray or ultrasound.
  • Butcher’s twine — Butcher’s twine used for turkey or ham preparation can seem appetizing to your pet, but if ingested, the twine can cause a linear foreign body obstruction that may lead to an intestinal perforation.

Designate a pet free area for your guests’ belongings

Pets are curious, and they like to investigate new items, especially ones that smell like other people. Designate a room where your guests can stow their belongings, keeping the door closed to prevent your pet from accessing their items. Potential hazards include:

  • Acetaminophen — Acetaminophen causes liver failure in pets, and is especially problematic for cats. 
  • Ibuprofen — Ibuprofen causes GI irritation and ulceration, and can lead to kidney failure.
  • Xylitol — This ingredient, commonly found in sugar free gum and mints, can cause severe hypoglycemia in pets, and can lead to liver failure.

Designate a safe zone for your pet

Gatherings can be overwhelming for pets, who need a quiet area where they know they can escape if they get stressed or anxious. Provide your pet with comfortable bedding, toys, and a food puzzle toy to keep them entertained and distracted, and consider confining your pet to their space if they are anxiety-prone. Ensure your guests know your pet’s area is off-limits. 

Take steps to ensure your pet doesn’t get lost

Many pets go missing during the tumult on Thanksgiving, and you should take steps to ensure they don’t get lost. These include:

  • Microchip your pet — Microchipping your pet is the best way to provide identification that can’t be removed or lost. Ensure you keep your contact information in the microchip registry up to date, so you can be reached if your lost pet is found.
  • Ensure your pet wears a collar — Ensure your pet wears a collar and identification tags with your current contact information. 
  • Post signs — Posts signs on your entryways to alert your guests to watch for your pet when they are going into and leaving your house.
  • Photograph your pet — Take a picture of your pet so you can post signs in your neighborhood should they go missing.

Choose pet-safe Thanksgiving decorations

When decorating your home, ensure you choose items that won’t harm your pet. Considerations include:

  • Fire hazard — Lit candles can quickly cause a fire when knocked over by a curious paw swipe or oblivious tail wag. Choose flameless candles to prevent a visit from the fire department.
  • GI obstruction — Small objects, strings, and ribbons can be ingested, resulting in a GI obstruction.
  • Toxicity — Several seasonal plants, including lilies, autumn crocuses, and chrysanthemums, are toxic to pets. Ensure all plants used for decoration are pet-safe.

Ensure your Thanksgiving travel is pet-safe

If you will be traveling with your pet for the holiday, take the following steps to keep them safe during the trip:

  • Restraining your pet — Do not allow pets to roam free in a moving vehicle. Place small pets in a carrier on the floor behind the front passenger seat, and restrain larger pets with a seat belt harness.
  • Contacting your airline — Contact your airline to ensure your pet can travel in the cabin with you, since the cargo hold is not safe for pets.
  • Researching veterinarians — Research urgent care and emergency veterinary practices along your route and at your final destination, in case your pet experiences a health complication.

Planning a pet-safe Thanksgiving will help prevent an emergency veterinary visit on the holiday. If you would like your pet microchipped before turkey day, contact our Fremont Animal Hospital team, so we can ensure they are properly identified before the festivities.

By |2022-12-02T01:30:35+00:00November 1st, 2022|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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