While Thanksgiving may be a smaller celebration this year than most, many families are still ramping up to create a holiday feast everyone can enjoy.
For families with furry friends joining the party, it’s important to follow some safety tips to keep your pets happy and healthy.
Foods Your Pets Shouldn’t Eat on Thanksgiving (or any day of the year!)
We know… those big eyes staring up at you. It’s practically impossible to ignore an animal that wants a taste of your meal. Many foods are safe to share with your dogs and cats (we’ll discuss those later), but you need to know what “treats” could make your pet sick or worse.
Here are some typical Thanksgiving delicacies to keep off your pet’s plate:
Stuffing – often made with onions, this is a no-no for your pets.
Turkey scraps (bones and fat) – fatty foods can cause gastrointestinal distress and inflammation of the pancreas, while poultry bones can splinter and irritate or even worse, pierce the esophagus or gastric lining.
Gravy – high in fat.
Mashed Potatoes – loaded with butter (if you make them right), thus high in fat.
Salads with Grapes or Raisins – poisonous to dogs (cats don’t usually touch them) and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and kidney failure.
Chocolate, Xylitol, and Macadamia Nuts – poisonous to cats and dogs, theobromine found in chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and potentially seizures and coma. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that causes a dangerous drop in blood sugar and sometimes liver failure and collapse can be incredibly fast for your pet. Macadamia nuts can cause weakness in the back legs, vomiting, diarrhea, and potentially paralysis.
Yeast Dough – raw dough can cause painful gas and dangerous (potentially life-threatening) bloat. It can also make your dog appear “drunk.”
Alcohol – while it’s not a food, adult beverages will likely find their way onto your holiday table. Make sure they don’t end up in your pet’s bowl to avoid vomiting, falling blood pressure, loss of coordination, and drunk-dialing their exes.
Hazards to Avoid
While your dinner table can be a source of danger for your pets, there are other hazards to be aware of this holiday season. (And the rest of the year!)
Just because you didn’t give your pet the foods mentioned above doesn’t mean they won’t help themselves. Cats and tall dogs have the option of counter-surfing for their snacks, whereas shorter dogs will have to wait patiently for delicious snacks to enter the trash. Don’t leave your pets alone in the kitchen while you are prepping or cleaning up after the meal. Even if you are with them, a moment of distraction can give Fluffy the time he needs to make the grab. If possible, keep your pets out of the kitchen entirely.
You’ll also want to make sure your trash is in a solid trash bin that can’t be open or tipped over. Better yet, store it under the counter in a closed cabinet or in the garage where pets can’t see it or reach it.
Visitors Coming and Going
Holidays can be a busy time with guests entering and exiting the house. Make sure that outside gates are kept closed, and pets are kept leashed or away from the door when people are coming or going.
Make sure that your pets are all microchipped and have collars and tags prior to the day-of so they can be returned safely if they do somehow get out.
If you’ve got guests coming, make sure they know the rules of the house when it comes to your pets. They shouldn’t be feeding your fur babies without asking, and no feminine hygiene products should be thrown in bathroom trash cans where paws can reach them.
From your holiday centerpiece to any décor that is placed around the home or in the front or backyard, you may not think it’s edible, but your dog or cat doesn’t agree. Many popular holiday plants are toxic to dogs and cats and can cause anything from stomach upset to even death. Keep decorations out of reach of fur kids and make sure they are never left alone with anything that can be chewed or swallowed or could cause shocks or other accidents. If you’ve got a cat, opt for flameless candles, so their tails don’t end up singed.
Creating a Holiday Menu for your Fur Babies
Pets are family, and we completely understand wanting to include them in holiday celebrations. A little preplanning will go a long way to keeping them healthy this season.
Here are a few delicious items that can become a part of your pup’s special menu. Keep in mind that while the basic foods are healthy for your animals, the sugary, spiced up, fat-laden versions are not. If you’re cooking at your house, put some foods aside while you’re cooking so they can be prepared plain.
- Sweet potatoes
- Green beans/ broccoli/ carrots
- Pumpkin (canned is okay, but pumpkin pie filling is not because it already contains dangerous spices like nutmeg)
For your pup’s dessert, stop into Mooch’s Munchies, a Las Vegas Dog Bakery and buy a box of our Pupkin Pies. Pie shaped cookies that are made with our super yummy pumpkin recipe and just waiting for a dollop of whipped cream or some nonfat organic Greek yogurt. Your dogs will be thankful for you! (If you don’t live in the Las Vegas area, all of our treats can be ordered online and shipped directly to your door.)
The Thanksgiving holiday should be filled with family, friends, and fur babies. This year for some of us, our fur babies are our only dinner guests. Make sure they enjoy the day by serving only what will keep them healthy. A little bit of preparation and know-how will make the holiday special. Happy Thanksgiving!