Tips for Keeping Pets Safe This Thanksgiving

As we approach Turkey Day, here’s what your customers should know when it comes to giving their pets a great, safe Thanksgiving.

With the Thanksgiving holiday, most homes across the country are filled with loved ones, food, and pets. While it’s a time to say thank you, for some it’s also a time to feed pets under the table or on their own plate.

However, it is important for customers to understand the risks of the food on their plates to keep their pets safe and out of the local emergency room or veterinary clinic. To help educate customers, Amber Karwacki, DVM, of Heart + Paw, offered these tips to share with pet owners to keep everyone healthy and happy this Thanksgiving.1

be our guest

With guests, it’s crucial to be aware of the reaction pets may have to new people or to many people in your home. According to Karwacki,1 One way to help pets is to prepare a separate room with your pet’s favorite bed and toys. This room gives the pet a way to escape the hustle and bustle that goes on indoors. Karwacki also suggested that the client discuss anxiety medications or pheromone therapy that could help their pet be more relaxed during the holiday season with their veterinarian.

If any guests bring plants as a gift, guests should be aware of plants that are harmful to pets if ingested. The most common toxic autumn plants for dogs and cats are autumn crocuses, chrysanthemums (also known as mums), and fallen acorns from oak trees.1 If a pet parent suspects that their pet has picked up one of these plants, let them know that it is crucial that they contact their veterinarian immediately.

Time to eat

Most pet owners will give their pets their own dishes from the table. However, not everything that pet owners think is safe for their pet is. Karwacki encouraged veterinary professionals to discuss the importance of not giving their dogs turkey skin or brown meat. Because the skin is so rich in fat, it can be difficult for dogs to digest even small amounts. She also warned that certain everyday foods like garlic and onions are toxic to pets, so make sure pet owners are aware of this.

If pet owners want to make a meal for their pets, Karwacki recommends making chicken without the skin or seasoning, sweet potatoes, and pet owners can even add carrots for an extra crunch. Check out Karwacki’s Pumpkin Peanut Butter Treat recipe in the sidebar for a pet-safe treat.

When the party is over

Since your client is cleaning up their Thanksgiving dinner, any leftovers from making the turkey—like the carcass, bones, and string—as well as other dinner junk can be dangerous for pets. Karwacki suggested that pet owners make sure their counters are free of unattended food or litter. Anything thrown away should also be stored properly in the garbage bag and out of reach of all pets.


HEART + PAW VETERINARY SHARE 4 TIPS TO KEEP YOUR PET SAFE THIS THANKSGIVING SEASON PLUS A BONUS RECIPE. Press release. Heart + Paw. November 2, 2022. Accessed November 22, 2022.

Tips for Keeping Pets Safe This Thanksgiving

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