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Hanford Veterinary Hospital Blog

Keys to Keeping Your Pet Safe This Thanksgiving

iStock_000019349731_MediumThis time of year there is always a lot of discussion about Thanksgiving preparations – from the bird and the pumpkin pies to the football games and the parades, there’s a lot on the menu. We know that pet owners have a long to-do list before the big day, and knowing how to best protect your pet will ensure everyone, human and pet alike, enjoys the occasion.

Offering the right foods (and restricting the wrong ones), controlling your pet’s environment, and identifying the warning signs of a sick or injured pet will all help tremendously towards a safe and happy Thanksgiving for both you and your furry family.

Setting the Stage for Success

Whether you are hosting or traveling, you’ll need to consider your pet’s personality and what he or she may need to get through the day. This may be a quiet and secluded place to sleep the day away, or being center stage and greeter-in-chief as guests arrive at the door. You know your pet best, and need to consider what your four-legged friend can realistically handle.

If you feel confident that Fluffy or Fido won’t dart out the front door (check his or her collar, ID tag, and microchip info, just to be safe) and know your guests won’t offer something tasty but toxic to your pet, then by all means, include your pet in the festivities. But, if you’re concerned that the day will be a stressful one for your four-legged friend, you may want to consider how best to accommodate your pet’s needs, even if that means leaving your four-legged family at home.

Decidedly Delicious

Seeing as the Thanksgiving holiday is meant to be shared with family and friends, it’s only natural that you would want to share this day (and its food) with your furry family members, too. However, it’s important to know that not all the foods on your Thanksgiving menu are pet-friendly.

When served to your pet in moderation (too much and indigestion is inevitable, for human and animal alike), these foods are A-OK for you to share with your pet on the big day…

  • Cooked, white meat turkey
  • Sweet potato, yams, and pumpkin (unsweetened only)
  • Green beans
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Corn (but no cobs!)
  • Carrots
  • Cranberries (whole and cooked, not the canned sauce)

Dangerous Items and Ingredients

Preparing for the worst may not usually be your modus operandi on a big holiday; however, during Thanksgiving, when so many things could go sideways, knowing what foods are toxic to your pets will go a long way.

Please don’t allow your furry friends to ingest the following:

  • Turkey skin or dark meat
  • Cooked turkey bones
  • Onions, garlic, or sage
  • Bread dough
  • Grapes or raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Xylitol
  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol
  • Food wrappers or string

Likewise, keep your pet away from anything that is overly buttery or rich. Foods like these are difficult on your pet’s digestive tract, and may result in pancreatitis or worse.

Know What to Look For

Symptoms of a pet emergency can manifest very quickly and, if not dealt with swiftly, can escalate to dangerous degrees. Know what to look for and check in with your pet periodically to stay confident that all is well with them. If you notice any of these symptoms, call us immediately:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Gagging
  • Respiratory distress
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy

Thanksgiving Bits and Bobs

Your devotion to your pet involves being a watchdog for his or her health, safety, and well being. Now that you know some of the obvious and hidden dangers in Thanksgiving foods, continue to be on the lookout for other problems relating to disruptions in routine and exposure to new people, sounds, and smells.

Lastly, remember to lock up your Thanksgiving refuse in order to discourage little paws and sniffers getting into the bones or carcass. Bacteria in those table scraps could create an avoidable problem, and non-food refuse could result in foreign object obstruction (and, likely, its surgical removal). Store your leftovers securely and then grab the leash and go for a walk – a little exercise will help both of you digest your feast and savor a little well-earned time together.

Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at Hanford Veterinary Hospital!

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