Thanksgiving Safety Tips

We’re making plans to start our Thanksgiving cooking very soon…and part of those plans involve keeping Tiki, Irie, and our cats OUT of the kitchen and safely away from the the stove, foods they shouldn’t have, and just the hustle and bustle of hot food being shuttled around the kitchen.

We’ve received some great Thanksgiving safety tips from Wag’N Enterprises, a company that provides pet emergency management services to everyone from first responders to pet parents. Please take just a moment to keep these tips in mind as you go through your Thanksgiving holiday (and pass some of them along to your guests, too, who may not be as familiar as you about foods your dog shouldn’t eat and other ways to keep your dog safe.) A few minutes of preparation are so much better than a rush to the animal emergency clinic on Thanksgiving. Please stay safe and happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Tips from Wag’N Enterprises

  • Pets and children can cause you to trip while holding heavy hot food. Pets may also be tempted to jump on counters which may lead to burns as they may plunge paws on hot stove tops/burners and in some cases may singe fur and lead to burns on other body parts. And at the risk of sounding repetitive, keep kids and pets away from candles!!
  • By keeping your pet’s routine unchallenged you will be able to mitigate the most common Thanksgiving emergency veterinarian visits. Feed your pet before the big family meal and away from guests to reduce stress and disturbance. Holidays are no time to make sudden dietary changes.
  • Avoid feeding your pet rich, fatty foods (turkey skins, gravy, etc,) as they can contribute to pancreatitis. This inflammation of the digestive gland is painful and can be serious-requiring emergency veterinary assistance.
  • Never feed your dog cooked bones – no exception for wish bones – as they can splinter and cause tears or obstruction in your pet’s digestive tract leading to internal bleeding.
  • Additional pet hazards include:

– Baking/meat strings,
– onions found in your stuffing (may lead to anemia if consumed by dogs),
– grapes and raisins (can lead to kidney failure),
– sage and essential oils,
– tin foil,
– cellophane candy wrappers,
– toothpicks,
– coffee and coffee grind,
– alcohol,
– Xylitol sweetener (see below),
– sweets and of course,
– chocolate (see below).

  • Children and adults in your household should be reminded of how dangerous candy and chocolate can be to pets.
  • Candies containing the artificial sweetener Xylitol can be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of Xylitol sweetener can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, leading to lack of coordination, seizures, low blood sugar and liver failure within hours. Xylitol is found in candy and gum.
  • Raw bread dough may lead to Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) which is the second leading killer of dogs after cancer. When heated by the pet’s body temperature, the raw dough will rise and swell, leading to its rotation then twisting at the esophagus and upper intestine. The twisting traps air and food obstructing veins in the abdomen leading to low blood pressure, shock and death within a few hours. As a general rule, avoid all exercise an hour after feeding anything to your pet. Raw dough is a No-No year round!
  • Wag’N cautions that open doors will provide for escape routes. Wag’N recommends pets are kept in an enclosed room away from the racket, crated, or in a dog pen hindering access to the home’s main entrance. All pets should wear up-to-date pet tags and be micro chipped before guests start showing up. If for any reason the pet escapes and gets lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can increase the chances the pet will be swiftly reunited with its family.
  • Set Aside a Doggy Room. It is important that your pet has a quiet place to get a time out or take a nap away from holiday guest, friends & family. Perhaps, your dog has a crate or you place your dog or cat bed in his own personal suite with a sign that says “Do Not Disturb.” Train your guests to your household rules.
  • Leaving unsupervised pets with chew toys is not recommended as pets may choke on them and the lack of supervision may be deadly to the pet.
  • Wag’N highly recommends pet parents keep important life saving phone numbers both in their cell phone registry and displayed on paper copy in a prominent well traveled area of the residence. Important numbers include your emergency veterinarian’s phone number, the ASPCA Poison Control Center Number (888) 426-4435 and the Regular Poison Control Number (800) 222-1222.

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About Paris Permenter & John Bigley

Paris Permenter and John Bigley are the award-winning authors of over 30 pet and travel books as well as the founders and publishers of CatTipper and DogTipper.