How to Avoid Thanksgiving Pet Emergencies

Thanksgiving is a time for families and friends to come together and celebrate—pets included. However, there can be hidden dangers for your pet during this festive time. We’ve prepared this list of common Thanksgiving hazards for dogs and cats so you can take precautions and avoid a holiday emergency.

  • Eating table scraps.
    It’s important to ask that young children and adult guests refrain from feeding pets during your big meal.

    While it’s tempting to treat your dog to a helping of the holiday meal, this can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. When a pet consumes food that is high in fat, inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) can occur. Pancreatitis can require hospitalization and can even lead to death. In addition, bones can be a choking hazard, and if ingested they can damage your pet’s gastrointestinal system, which can result in an intestinal blockage.
  • Getting into the garbage.
    The trash bin can be appealing to a pet, especially when the contents are bits of food. Even the most well-behaved pet can be tempted. Rummaging through and eating what’s in the garbage, unfortunately, can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, pancreatitis or intestinal blockage as well. Make sure that all garbage and food waste is out of your pet’s reach.
  • Receiving burns from the oven/stove.
    We all love those wonderful smells that come from what’s cooking in the oven or on the stove, and your pet is no exception. When cooking, keep your pet far from the oven or stove to prevent burns or other accidents from occurring.
  • Drippings from the grill.
    Many people grill during the holidays, and the drippings can be irresistible for your pet. Grill drippings are usually fatty meat scraps that contain large amounts of grease—presenting another risk for pancreatitis when eaten. Make sure that any spills are cleaned up so that your pet doesn’t ingest them.
  • Grilling and frying burns.
    If you plan on grilling or frying your turkey, make sure that your pet is far away from the cooking area. If your pet gets too close, he or she can potentially run into the grill or fryer, which can lead to burns or other injuries.

Avoid These Thanksgiving Emergencies

Things can get hectic when the house is filled with family and friends, and amidst all the hustle and bustle even the most vigilant pet owner may find that their furry friend has been naughty. If you notice any of the following signs, you should take your pet to the nearest veterinarian as soon as possible.

  • Burns
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy or lack of energy
  • Lack of appetite
  • A change in overall behavior

It’s always a good idea to have the phone number and address of a 24-hour emergency hospital that’s opened on holidays on hand. Early diagnosis of a problem can increase the number of treatment options available and improve your pet’s prognosis.

If you have questions about your pet’s health and how to prepare for the holidays, request an appointment with your Banfield veterinarian, or submit a question using our Ask-a-Vet tool.

Other Important Articles about Pets and the Holidays

Around the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s important to brush up on pet safety tips to keep your dog or cat healthy and happy for many more to come. Check out these articles and others from our Pet Health Resources library to stay informed about your pet’s health.