While we naturally want to share our abundance with those we love–including our pets–this is definitely not a situation of “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” Many of the foods and festivities we associate with Thanksgiving can be stressful or dangerous for our pets.
Foods. While a small amount of boneless, lean turkey breast is probably ok to share with your pet, avoid any rich foods or anything cooked with onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, scallions, leeks or chives, as these ingredients can be toxic. Keep in mind that many of the fowl that will grace your holiday table could be contaminated with salmonella. Just a drop of juice on the floor licked up by your pet could cause food poisoning. In addition, yeast doughs and desserts made with xylitol should be kept for just the humans at the table. The yeast doughs can cause gastrointestinal issues and dangerous bloating, while xylitol can be deadly.
Trash. The last thing you want to deal with when you’ve gotten into a comfortable food coma is bagging up and securing the trash, but if your pet gets into it, you could be making a rush trip to the emergency room. Pets have been known to consume food wrappings such as aluminum foil, strings and packaging, and cooked bones pose splintering and blockage concerns. It’s better for everyone if it’s put out of your pet’s reach behind a locked door or, better yet, outside in the garage or trash bin.
Visitors. While some pets are fine with a little more commotion, the comings and goings and louder festivities will be highly stressful for others. Make sure your pet has a quiet sanctuary where he can retreat if the festivities get to be more than he can handle. It’s also a good idea to keep pets on a leash while guests are arriving and departing. Not only does this help prevent any unwanted jumping, it also helps keep your pet from making a break for it out an unattended door while everyone is saying their hellos and good-byes. Once the commotion has died down, take the leash off unless your pet is having trouble calming down. Even then, never leave a pet unattended on a leash.
With a little care and common sense, your Thanksgiving celebration can be festive and stress-free for all members of your family–even the furry, four-legged ones!