Tips to keep your pets safe during Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving — and the entire holiday season — is full of family, friends and food! And if your pets are the kind that like to hang out under the table waiting for scraps, then there are a few things you need to know in order to keep them from eating something they shouldn’t. 

When it comes to your furkid’s safety, erring on the side of caution is the way to go. Plus, it could save you some major money at the vet’s office, along with paper towels, cleaning supplies and your precious time. 

Read more: How to save money on Thanksgiving dinner

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), here are some guidelines to follow in order to keep your pets safe on Thanksgiving and around the holidays.

What to know about pets and people food

Turkey:

If you want to feed your pet a small bite of turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don’t give pets raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria. 

Ham/bacon/pork:

All those dog treat commercials may make it seem like ham and bacon are OK for pets, but those treats are made specifically for pets to consume — unlike the meat that comes from your kitchen. According to experts, pork fat and other high-fat, salty meats can lead to indigestion for pets, causing diarrhea and vomiting. Heavy amounts can also lead to pancreatitis, which can be fatal in extreme cases. So avoid feeding your dog fatty, salty, spicy meats of any kind. 

Bones:

While you might be tempted to give your dog a bone from your cooking leftovers, don’t do it! Bones can splinter and harm your pets, plus they can be very problematic for the digestive tract.

Read more: Safety tips for traveling with your pets

No bread dough:

Don’t allow your pets access to raw bread dough. When a dog or cat ingests raw bread dough, the yeast continues to convert the sugars in the dough to carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. This could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring a trip to the hospital.

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No cake:

If you plan to bake Thanksgiving desserts, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs — they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.

Treats for the family feast:

While you and your family enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, give your pets a small feast of their own. The ASPCA says offer them made-for-pets chew bones, or stuff their usual dinner with special treats — perhaps with a few added tidbits of turkey, vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans) and dribbles of gravy — inside a food puzzle toy.

Here are some other people foods that the ASPCA says to avoid giving to pets, because they can be toxic:

  • Alcohol
  • Avocado
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Caffeine
  • Citrus
  • Coconut/Coconut oil
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Milk and dairy
  • Nuts (including almonds, pecans, and walnuts)
  • Onions, garlic, chives
  • Raw/Undercooked meat, eggs and bones
  • Salt and salty snack foods
  • Xylitol (used as a sweetener in many products)
  • Yeast dough


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