Don’t take your pet’s safety for granted on Thanksgiving. While many of the foods that make the holiday so enjoyable for you and your family might not seem dangerous to your pet, think again! The holidays tend to be a busy time for emergency vets, who often get calls about dogs and cats ingesting bones, chocolate, casserole, and everything in between. And food isn’t the only hazard--decorations can also be a problem for your pet. You can minimize the odds of your pet having a health emergency by reviewing our helpful pet safety tips and reminders below!
Harmful Thanksgiving Foods to Keep Off-Limits
- Turkey and chicken bones: It’s never a good idea to give your pet any bones to snack on, because they can cause tooth fractures, choking, and bowel obstruction. Plus, turkey and chicken bones can splinter easily into thin, sharp fragments that can injure the mouth, esophagus, and digestive tract. Dispose of any leftover meat bones right away, instead of giving them to your pet!
- Garlic and onions: Whether cooked or uncooked, both garlic and onions are highly potent and very harmful to pets. Even when cooked into another dish, they can still be dangerous. Be careful!
- Grapes/raisins: Grapes and raisins both contain dangerous compounds that affect the kidneys. Ingesting them can cause kidney failure in your pet.
- Chocolate: Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, stimulants that dogs and cats cannot metabolize. Furthermore, the darker the chocolate is, the more toxic it can be due to its higher concentration of caffeine and theobromine.
- Xylitol: Many sugar-free sweets contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener. Unfortunately, this sweetener is extremely toxic to pets. Gum, candy, cookies, muffins, and even certain brands of peanut butter might contain this harmful ingredient.
- Stuffing: Turkey stuffing might contain onions and garlic, which are very unsafe for dogs and cats. Some recipes even call for grapes, raisins or cranberries, which are toxic to pets!
- Ham: For families that don’t care for turkey, ham is usually the main dish of choice. However, it would be best not to give your pet more than a very small taste, as many hams are quite salty and fatty--and the same goes for bacon.
- Pumpkin pie: Plain, unsweetened pumpkin is usually okay for pets, but pumpkin pie filling is full of milk, sugar, and various spices that can make your companion sick.
- Pecan pie: Nuts, especially pecans, are very fatty and have a high oil content, which can cause stomach upset in animals.
- Green bean casserole: Save the casserole for your human family only. Like many other types of casserole, it usually contains lots of cream, butter, cheese, and onions, which can all upset your pet’s stomach.
- Nutmeg: Surprisingly, this spice is toxic to dogs due to the myristicin it contains. There is no evidence of nutmeg being dangerous for cats, but it’s best to play it safe and keep the spices off limits.