A kitten climbs on the table to take a taste of a Thanksgiving turkey.

Potential Thanksgiving Dangers for Your Pet

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. You can almost smell the turkey cooking in the oven and the scent of fresh pies wafting throughout the house. For humans, Thanksgiving is a wonderful day to eat and spend time with family and friends. A time to watch some football on TV or the Macy’s Parade or maybe Planes, Trains, and Automobiles — for the 15th time. But if you have pets or are hosting family members or friends that have pets, Thanksgiving can present some dangers that you need to be aware of. This post will present some common problems or emergencies that pets can encounter during Thanksgiving celebrations, as well as some tips for how to prevent them, and what to do if something happens.

Prevent Access to Countertops & Ovens

When you’re cooking and preparing the Thanksgiving meal, you’ll want to be careful about the food you’re leaving on the countertops. Between setting the table, stirring the gravy, basting the turkey, and checking on the cornbread, you’re not going to have the bandwidth to keep an eye on whether or not your cat or dog has jumped onto the countertop and gotten into some food.

It’s best to prevent access to countertops entirely for your pets. Put Sparky and Mr. Kitty in the basement or in a bedroom while you’re preparing supper. Animals correlate the smell of food with the taste and will be attracted to an enticing aroma in the same way that Uncle Bill is lured off the couch and into the kitchen to take a peek at what’s cooking. Many of the foods that are served at Thanksgiving will also cause digestive issues for your pets.

In addition to the dangers that are present from pets eating Thanksgiving foods, there are dangers of getting too close to the hot stove and oven. The smell emitting from the stovetop will entice your pets to have a peek. Cats can get too close to the oven and burn themselves or singe their whiskers. It’s best to keep them out of harm’s way and prevent them from the temptation of having a taste of your yummy-smelling food. Candles are also as risky as ovens and stovetops. Never leave your pet alone in a room with a burning candle. Pets can knock them over (especially curious cats), causing burns or house fires.

Dispose of Table Scraps

It can be tempting to give your pet a bite of your dinner, especially when they stare up at you with those adorable eyes. But during Thanksgiving, and any other meal, you’ll want to be careful with table scraps. Not all table scraps are harmful to pets, but it’s better to play it on the safe side. Small-breed dogs can be especially sensitive and develop a disease called pancreatitis, which is caused by eating food with a high-fat content. It is recommended that you don’t feed your pets from the table, but if you feed anything, offer small amounts of vegetables or meat. However, with meat, make sure that there aren’t any bones present, and do not offer your pet bones for play purposes, since they can be especially dangerous for dogs. Sugary foods such as pies should especially be avoided.

Any dog owner knows that just because you throw some food away, that doesn’t mean that your dog won’t find a way to have a taste. Safely dispose of the turkey string and foil once you’re finished with dinner – the string that wraps or ties turkey’s legs is often haphazardly placed aside and found and eaten by dogs and cats. The same danger exists with the plastic turkey wrapper. Ingestion of these indigestible items can require an unfortunate visit to an emergency veterinary clinic for life-saving surgery. Place string, aluminum foil, and turkey wrappers in a secure, covered trash can.

Inform Your Guests & Family Members

It’s not enough for you as the pet owner to know about the potential dangers that linger during the holidays. It’s important that everyone is in the loop. Make sure you communicate to all guests that they should avoid feeding table scraps to pets and help prevent animals from getting access to the kitchen.

Even the safest and most cautious group of Thanksgiving celebrators can’t prevent all potential pet accidents. They’re called accidents because they occur unexpectedly. You’ll want to check with your vet ahead of time to see whether or not they’re open during the holiday weekend. If their clinic is closed, ask for a recommendation to a veterinary clinic that is open during the holidays. If something happens that requires you to take your pet to an urgent care facility during the holidays, you’re going to want to have an action plan in place. Without a plan in place, you’ll be frantically calling clinics or searching online to find one that is open.

Get Pet Insurance

We hope that you, your family, and all the furry friends you celebrate the holiday with have a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving. By taking precautions with the access your pets have to the kitchen, avoiding the temptation to give your pets table scraps, and by communicating with your guests and having a plan in case of an emergency, you’ll be on your way to a safe and joyous holiday season.

Regardless of the time of year, pet insurance can provide pet owners with peace of mind. Click here to learn more.