When you think about Thanksgiving, your mind naturally first goes to the food. While the holiday focuses heavily on the feast, it’s also a time to count your blessings and spend time with loved ones. Let one of your blessings this year be that you prevented your furry pal from snatching the turkey off the table, and that you did not spend time at an emergency veterinary hospital rather than with loved ones. How do you accomplish this feat? Follow WesVet’s three tips to avoid Thanksgiving tragedies, and spend your time enjoying good food, friends, and memories.

#1: Keep your pet out of the kitchen

Too many cooks in the kitchen can be dangerous, especially when one has four paws and a nose for trouble. Keep your pet out of the kitchen to ensure you don’t trip over them as you carry hot dishes from the oven, stir boiling pots on the stove, or carve the turkey. In addition to hot dishes and sharp knives, your kitchen holds other dangers, including abundant foods that are toxic or hazardous for your pet.

  • Uncooked yeast dough — Your pet may not be able to wait for your bread dough to rise, and scarf down the uncooked dough for your famous yeast rolls, which can cause them serious trouble. A ball of fermenting raw yeast in your pet’s stomach emits gases that can lead to bloat, gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), and alcohol poisoning. Watch for signs of unproductive retching or active vomiting, depression, incoordination, or weakness. 
  • Grapes and raisins — Grapes and raisins have an unknown toxic effect that can be fatal by damaging the kidneys beyond repair. Without knowing the toxic dose, or the poisoning mechanism, avoid sharing any of your raisin-studded stuffing with your pet.
  • Garlic, chives, and onions — These tasty vegetables can elevate any boring side dish from bland to delicious, but ensure your pet keeps their paws off any dish containing these ingredients. Garlic, chives, and onions can destroy their red blood cells, leading to potentially fatal anemia.
  • Turkey — The star of the Thanksgiving feast is chock-full of hazards for your pet. From the fatty skin and dark meat, to the bones and seasonings, your Thanksgiving turkey can cause your pet serious harm, including pancreatitis, gastrointestinal obstructions, and food toxicities. Offer your pet only a small piece of unseasoned turkey breast that is skin- and bone-free if you can’t resist their begging gaze.
  • Fatty foods — Comfort foods abound on Thanksgiving, but buttery mashed potatoes, rich gravy, and savory stuffing are loaded with butter, oil, and fat, which can wreak havoc on your pet’s pancreas. Cats and dogs do not metabolize fat well, and severe pancreatitis, where the pancreas releases enzymes that digest nearby organs, can be fatal.

You can create a pet-friendly Thanksgiving feast by sticking to plain, low-fat foods. Small amounts of unseasoned, skinless, boneless white meat and plain mashed potatoes with no milk and butter added are easily digested and acceptable for your pet. Or, create a special treat by stuffing a Kong with a concoction of mashed potatoes, a chunk of fresh broccoli or carrot, and a few shreds of turkey mixed with your pet’s food.

#2: Deter your pet from dashing out the door

With all the comings and goings through your front door, your overexcited pet may quickly dash out amid the commotion. When your guests are expected to arrive, block your pet’s access to the door, or confine them to a bedroom or their crate to ensure their safety. To prevent the unthinkable—a lost pet—check that all the information included with their microchip registration and on their collar’s ID tags is up-to-date. 

#3: Curb your pet’s interest in your Thanksgiving centerpiece

While your guests are oohing and aahing over your gorgeous Thanksgiving centerpieces, your intrigued pet may take a nibble. Corn cobs, squash, and some plants and flowers can be hazardous, and sometimes fatal, for your pet. Cobs can become stuck in your pet’s intestinal tract, squash and gourds can develop mold and be toxic, and beautiful seasonal plants can lead to a life-threatening toxicity.

If your pet didn’t read the rules for a safe and happy Thanksgiving and you find them in a tight spot this holiday, your WesVet team is here to bail them out, so you can get back to enjoying your celebration. Give us a call.