Thanksgiving Safety Tips

The winter holidays can be fun for the whole family, but let’s make sure it’s not a dangerous time for your pet. Thanksgiving centers around food, so here are a few tips to protect your pet and avoid a visit to the veterinarian.

Cut the fat

Fatty or rich foods like beef fat, poultry skin and gravy can cause severe gastrointestinal issues in pets, including:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive gas
  • Serious diseases like pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is a severe inflammation of the pancreas, an organ that produces digestive enzymes. On the mild side, pancreatitis can cause vomiting and a decrease in appetite, but can potentially be fatal.

If you want to treat your pet, it’s best to stick to a pet treat or a couple of small bites of lean poultry or unsalted/unbuttered vegetables.

Bones are bad

Although bones from our holiday birds look good to pets, they are dangerous and can cause intestinal upset and may even splinter once digested. These splinters can cause damage to the intestines that can lead to infection, intestinal blockage, or even the death of the dog or cat if not treated appropriately.

Watch the packaging

  • Make sure you dispose of any turkey or other food packaging quickly and appropriately.
  • All strings, plastic holders and bags that have a meat smell to them can be very attractive to a pet. Once ingested, these items can cause damage or blockage of the intestines.


Chocolate is particularly toxic

Consider all the cookie and desserts offered during the holidays, many of which contain chocolate.

Chocolate is dangerous for dogs in particular because it contains theobromine, a caffeine-like ingredient that can be toxic to your pet. Dogs are not able to metabolize theobromine as quickly as humans. Complications include:

  • Digestive issues
  • Dehydration
  • Excitability
  • Slow heart rate
Later stages of theobromine poisoning include epileptic-like seizures and pet death. Keep your pet away from dark, semi-sweet and baker’s chocolate because they contain higher levels of theobromine.