How to Prevent Your Pet From Thanksgiving Day Disasters

The most anticipated feast of the year is drawing near, and while your pet’s mouth may be watering as they watch you whip up a delicious meal in the kitchen, many holiday dangers can unexpectedly cause your furry pal harm. The kitchen is actually one of the most dangerous places in your home for your pet during Thanksgiving, but many other areas also hide health risks. Check out our room-by-room guide that details all the dangers your pet may be exposed to this Thanksgiving season.

Kitchen catastrophes for your pet

The kitchen is where it’s at—the aromas, the dropped ingredients, and the dangers. When you’re in the midst of cooking a holiday feast with your pet underfoot, a food-related incident is highly likely. Trying to dodge your furry pal as you chop carrots, boil potatoes, or remove the turkey from the oven can lead to knife, hot water, or scorching pan injuries.

In addition to the physical dangers of cooking are the hazards associated with eating toxic foods, many of which appear at Thanksgiving, posing all sorts of health risks to your pet. Here are some of the most common food dangers to avoid:

  • Turkey and ham — Whether you choose to grace your table with turkey, ham, or both, these main dishes can cause serious trouble for your pet. While a small bite of skinless, boneless turkey breast that’s seasonings-free is a safe treat for your four-legged friend, the rest should be off-limits. Fatty meats, like ham and turkey legs, can trigger pancreatitis in your pet, while bones can pierce their gastrointestinal tract, or cause an obstruction.
  • Garlic, onions, leeks, and chives — These veggies are popular for adding rich flavor to dishes, but Allium family foods can cause red blood cell damage and anemia in your pet.
  • Raisins and currants — Only small amounts of raisins and currants in stuffing, fruitcake, or other dishes can cause kidney failure in pets.
  • High-fat foods — Dishes loaded with butter, cream, or other high-fat ingredients can irritate and inflame your pet’s pancreas, potentially causing a life-threatening pancreatitis episode.
  • Desserts — Chocolate, massive quantities of sugar, or the sugar substitute xylitol can be hazardous to your pet’s health. Chocolate is a well-known toxin, while xylitol is rapidly becoming more common as a replacement for sugar in sweet treats. Xylitol ingestion can cause a drastic drop in blood sugar, and liver failure.

Dining room dangers for your pet

Once all the delicious dishes are moved from the kitchen to the dining room, the same hazards remain, but new ones are added. The main problem in the dining room is the beautiful centerpiece of seasonal flora. Squash, corn cobs, and candles may make a gorgeous design, but they may also attract your pet. Your squash that sits too long and becomes spoiled can cause serious gastrointestinal upset, while corn cobs can become lodged and require emergency surgical removal in pets, if ingested. Inquisitive pets may singe their whiskers on a lit candle, or knock the candle over, and create a house fire. 

Bedroom perils for your pet

If you have friends or family staying for the holiday, ensure your pet stays out of the guest bedroom. Your visitors may be unaccustomed to living with a pet, and fail to keep hazards out of reach. Remind your guests to refrain from leaving suitcases unzipped, medications in paws’ reach, or candy and gum in jackets and purses. Your curious pet may help themselves to potentially dangerous items as they explore your guest’s belongings.

Living room risks for your pet

As family and friends gather to share in the season of togetherness, all the strange visitors can cause your pet stress and anxiety. Feeling trapped in a room full of unfamiliar people can cause the most mellow of pets to lash out when cornered and approached for petting. If your pet displays stress signals, remove them from the festivities, and give them space to relax away from the commotion. Pets who are uncomfortable around strangers may hide behind their owners, pull back or flatten their ears back, tuck their tail, and widen their eyes, and may urinate or defecate. If your dog has a furrowed brow and a tense, closed mouth, or you see the whites of their eyes, instruct your guests to back off. An uncomfortable cat will arch their back, flatten their ears, stiffen their tail, or tuck themselves into a small ball. If you’re unsure how your pet will react around newcomers, be safe, and confine them to a quiet room with a soft bed, new toy, and tasty treat to occupy their time.

We wish you and your pet a happy, safe Thanksgiving. But, if a Thanksgiving Day disaster befalls your furry pal, contact our Harbor Pines Veterinary Center team for help. We’ll point you in the right direction should your pet need emergency care over the holiday.

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