As Thanksgiving rolls around, you’re likely planning an extravagant meal paired with extravagant table decor that will delight all your closest, most-loved family and friends. Naturally, you want to include your four-legged family member in the celebration, but do you know what dangers could befall them? Our team shares some of the most common Thanksgiving hazards your furry pal may encounter.

Thanksgiving food dangers for pets

As a holiday that revolves around food, Thanksgiving is one of the most hazardous holidays for pets because many of the foods are toxic. A wide array of mouthwatering dishes gives your pet plenty of opportunity to ingest dangerous foods. Some of the most common hazardous foods for pets include:

  • Turkey — The Thanksgiving turkey is the star of the show that draws your guests and your pet to the table, but reserve the bird for your human dining companions, because the seasonings, skin, dark meat, and bones all pose a threat to your furry pal. The higher fat content in dark meat and turkey skin can spur a painful, potentially life-threatening, case of pancreatitis, whereas many seasonings can cause gastrointestinal upset or toxicity if consumed in large enough amounts. Bones, whether or not they are cooked, can splinter when chewed and pierce your pet’s gastrointestinal tract. They can also create a blockage that requires emergency surgical removal.
  • Garlic, onion, leeks, and chives — These tasty ingredients, common in many side dishes, are toxic to pets if ingested, causing red blood cell destruction. Avoid giving your pet any food that contains these ingredients, such as green beans, mashed potatoes, stuffing, or gravy.
  • Unbaked bread dough — Unbaked dough containing yeast can rise in the warmth of your pet’s stomach, and grow large enough to cause a blockage. The fermenting bread can also lead to alcohol poisoning. Instead of leaving the yeast dough for your grandma’s famous rolls rising on the counter, store the dough somewhere safe, like the microwave or a high shelf.
  • Desserts — While you likely know chocolate is toxic to dogs, many other popular dessert ingredients are also hazardous. Fruitcake, pies, or cookies that contain raisins or currants can cause kidney damage, while sugar-free treats containing xylitol can lead to severe hypoglycemia and liver failure.

Not only are many popular Thanksgiving dishes dangerous to pets, but so are the scraps tossed in your trash can. Remind guests to refrain from sharing food with your pet, and to ensure the trash can lid is kept locked tight.

Thanksgiving decor dangers for pets

No doubt the falling autumn temperatures make you want to deck your home with beautiful harvest decor that includes pumpkins, squash, corn cobs, and corn stalks. But, while these seasonal items create gorgeous centerpieces and porch displays, they also pose a threat to your pet. Rotting vegetables and inedible vegetation can cause gastrointestinal upset or blockages, while lit candles can scorch your pet’s fur, or result in a house fire. If you’re considering adding chrysanthemums to your Thanksgiving decor, think againthese bright flowers add bursts of color to your display, but they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, and incoordination in pets. Stick to nontoxic plants, like asters and pansies, when decorating, and block your pet’s access to any potential decor hazards.

Thanksgiving guest dangers for pets

Spending time with family and friends is a wonderful part of Thanksgiving, but visiting guests can bring their own dangers for your pet. From an open front door to an unattended suitcase, your furry pal can get into trouble by darting out the door or sniffing out medications or snacks. Pets frequently eat heart medications, antidepressants, sugar-free gum, and candy bars that they find searching through guests’ suitcases and handbags.

A houseful of strangers also can unsettle your pet, and trigger stress and anxiety. If your pet clings to your side, hides under the bed, vocalizes excessively, behaves destructively, or eliminates inappropriately, they could be stressed out from visitors. Provide anxious pets with a safe haven off-limits to visitors and furnished with a cozy bed, a treat puzzle, and favorite toys, and play soft music or leave on the TV to help muffle all the unfamiliar sounds in your home.

Thanksgiving is best spent focusing on enjoying time with loved ones, but we know pets can get into trouble any day of the year. If your furry pal snatches a turkey leg, or chows down on your cornucopia, give our Alpine Animal Hospital team a call for help.