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Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Pet Owners

I don’t know about you, but Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. It’s the one day I eat as much as I want and don’t feel guilty about it. It’s a special day to spend with family and loved ones and reflect on what I’m thankful for. There’s no pressure about giving or receiving gifts- it’s just about enjoying the moment with loved ones. While Thanksgiving is going to look a bit different this year and I won’t be seeing the family members I usually spend it with, I still plan on cooking up a storm. I plan on attempting to replicate my Aunt Florence’s famous jello mold and my mom’s delicious pumpkin cheesecake pie. I also know that my four legged family member, Scout, will be happy to have me home this year as I imagine will be the case with pets all over the country. That said, there are most definitely some pet safety tips to keep in mind to ensure your day goes off without a hitch- or emergency tip to the vet. Read on for my list of top Thanksgiving safety tips for pet owners.

Black dog laying in a pile of autumn leaves


No doubt that mouth watering aromas will be filling up your house before the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade is even over. You can also bet that your four legged friends will be on high alert hoping to be included in the festivities. As much as you enjoy spoiling your fur babies (I’m right there with you), it’s important to remember that they can’t handle rich fatty foods like cream, butter and other seasonings the way we do. I’m not telling you to leave them out completely, just keep it in moderation. If you want your pets to enjoy some of the goodies, I would suggest sticking to plain turkey (remove any bones and skin) and more bland items like carrots, green beans or mashed potatoes.

Foods that are toxic and should be absolutely kept off limits:

  • Things like stuffing that contain ingredients like garlic, onion and scallions-all of these are toxic to cats and dogs and can cause anemia which is a life-threatening condition.

  • Another popular dish that isn’t good for pets is ham which could possibly cause indigestion and pancreatitis.

  • While I don’t personally know too many pets that like salads- you’d be surprised! You’re going to want to keep them away from salads if they contain things like grapes or raisins. These can cause kidney failure in dogs that can quickly turn fatal.

  • When it comes to desserts, some sugar-free baked goods contain Xylitol which can be lethal for pets.

Yellow labrador being pet at the table

If your pet does get into something that they shouldn't and you're not sure what to do, contact the Animal Control Poison Hotline. 2.) DECORATIONS

Cornucopia with fall harvest items including pumpkins, gords, apples and indian corn

This may seem like a weird one and while home decor might not seem threatening, there are some things to be wary of. Lit candles, for example, should be kept out of reach of inquisitive cats and dogs.

Mischievous pets can also do a lot of damage with a low hanging tablecloth.Batteries and wires can also be unsafe if a pet chews them. If you have a puppy or a very curious dog (or cat), I would also recommend keeping things like ornamental pumpkins and gourds out of reach because if ingested they can cause gastrointestinal issues or blockages.

A closeup of an adult large breed dog that is coming out from the corner of the image with a cat getting into the trash and looking at him

3.) THE CLEAN UP You’re going to want to be equally as careful when cleaning up because you’re not in the clear just because the food isn’t on the table anymore. Industrious pups can take it upon themselves to investigate and dig through trash cans and nobody wants that. Keep them closed and when they’re full take them outside to prevent any temptation. Remember that turkey bones can easily break apart creating sharp pieces that could be swallowed, causing a lot of damage. Any carcass leftovers should be double bagged and gotten rid of properly. Food containers and wrappings such as wax paper and aluminum foil present a hazard too. Anything that smells like food can prove to be irresistible to pets!

If you're staying in town, going across town or out of town this holiday season- let Posh Pets pamper your babies while you're away! Contact us at or at (703) 310-9180 to learn about holiday specials and customized pet sitting packages.


About the Author The daughter of an award-winning travel writer, Kimberly has followed in her mother’s footsteps and has had articles published in numerous publications. She got her first puppy from Santa Claus when she was four years old and has never known a life that didn’t include four-legged family members. An animal advocate, she has rescued pets, volunteered at shelters and has even been known to nurse an injured sparrow back to health. When she’s not busy running a successful pet care business and providing care to her four-legged customers, you can rest assured that she is pampering her 19-year-old kitty, Scout.

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