Thanksgiving Safety for Your Pets

Thanksgiving is a time filled with family, gratitude, and really good food. And while most of these things can coexist with our pets safely, there are some elements of this American holiday that can pose some risks for our furry friends. In today’s blog post we’re going to cover some basic best practices to ensure your pets have a healthy and happy Thanksgiving alongside you. 

Toxic Foods for Dogs and Cats

Despite Thanksgiving being built on hearts filled with gratitude for the blessings we have in life, most people would agree that it’s the huge delicious meal that we look forward to. Whether you and your family celebrate with a traditional Thanksgiving meal, something allergen or lifestyle-friendly, or choose a different theme all together, it’s a day filled with delicious dishes and lots of leftovers. However, not all of the food we enjoy on Thanksgiving is safe for our pets. Below we provide a list of foods that could potentially be toxic to your dog or cat.

Thanksgiving Stuffing

A delicious combination of bread, onions, garlic, herbs, and spices. Maybe you get more adventurous with your stuffing recipe and include raisins or currants. No matter how you prepare the dish, it is a delightful Thanksgiving treat to pair with turkey, ham, or a meat-free option. Unfortunately, some of the ingredients prove to be less than delightful for our pets. 

Are onions and garlic bad for cats and dogs? In small quantities, these vegetables can’t do much harm. However, in larger quantities both of these vegetables contain toxins that can damage your pet’s red blood cells, causing hemolytic anemia in extreme situations.

Raisins and currants are very toxic to your dog’s kidneys, no matter how small the quantity. These foods have been directly linked to sudden kidney failure in dogs.

Thanksgiving Rolls

Yeast makes a lot of delicious human treats possible, but if your pet sneaks too many yeast rolls from your Thanksgiving table, it could lead to some serious trouble. Yeast has a habit of reacting to starch by producing carbon dioxide and alcohol. This means great things for us when it comes to enjoying beer, sparkling wine, and our favorite yeast breads and rolls, but the same reaction can happen in our pet’s stomach if they ingest too much. 

If you catch your pet sneaking yeast dough while it’s trying to rise on the counter, or stealing some rolls that fall from the table, prepare to take them to your nearest emergency vet clinic right away. Until you can get them there, you can give them ice water to drink to slow down the fermentation process that could be occurring in their stomach.

Healthy Thanksgiving Desserts

In a recent trend to avoid processed sugar, many are turning to natural sweetener alternatives. One of the more popular ones to bake with has been xylitol, a plant-based sweetener. While xylitol provides a healthier alternative to your favorite cake or pie, it means a trip to the emergency room for your dog

That doesn’t mean you can’t bake your favorite holiday treats with xylitol, but it does mean you need to exercise a lot of caution when using it to bake with your pets in the house. Keep anything made with xylitol far away from your pet’s reach. The holidays can be chaotic and make it hard to keep track of who is doing what and where inside of the house, so it’s a good idea to establish a spot for these healthier treats before you get into the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving day.

Avoid Stressing Out Your Pets

While COVID-19 will no doubt have an impact on how families celebrate Thanksgiving, if you’re still planning to have family over to your home, keep your pets in mind. Dogs and cats don’t understand sudden change as well as humans do. We can’t communicate to them that the in-laws are coming over for the holidays. A sudden rush of guests they aren’t very familiar with can absolutely rock your pet’s world, and not necessarily in a good way. Here are some tips to keep the stress levels down in your house on Thanksgiving Day.

  • Create a calming space for your pet filled with familiar things and scents. Put their crate in a room they enjoy spending time in with some of their favorite toys and treats. 
  • Stock up on calming pheromones. Most pet stores sell them for both dogs and cats as sprays, wipes, and diffusers. 
  • Don’t force your pet to socialize if they’re overwhelmed and uncomfortable. Read your dog or cat’s body language around anyone new and unfamiliar to gauge how they’re feeling in the moment.

Traveling with Your Pet

If you plan on traveling with your pet at all for Thanksgiving, do your research before hitting the road! COVID-19 has caused a lot of airlines to change their rules and regulations, especially when it comes to traveling with your pets. Before you book your ticket, call the airlines you’re considering to find the best and safest option for you and your pet. 

Road trips in your own car don’t require quite as much research or steps as flying with your pet, but it still requires some preparation. If your pet has experienced motion sickness or fear of traveling in the car in the past, you can visit us at any of our locations to discuss options to make the experience more pleasant for your dog or cat. 

Traveling with your pet can also require more frequent stops than you’re used to. Your dog will need to stop frequently to use the restroom, as well as to walk around and stretch their legs. Map out the rest stops along your route before starting the drive to make your life easier! For more specific tips on traveling with your pet, read one of our previous blog posts we’ve written on the topic.

If your pet needs vaccinations before being boarded while you’re out of town, all of our locations offer convenient packages or individual vaccines. Because all of our clinics operate on a walk-in model, you can even stop by one of our clinics on your way to the kennel!

All of us at PetWellClinic wish you and your family a Thanksgiving filled with good food and memories and no pet-related emergencies! Visit our website to find the right location for you, and to view our list of services available for you and your pet.

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