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November 21, 2011 at 6:36 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Dog-Safe Thanksgiving Tips

By Victoria Swanson More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Paws & Awws Blog Series

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! We'll spend time with our family, eat until we're stuffed, take a nap bordering on comatose, and then watch a good football game! But what about our fur kids? Where's the fun in Thanksgiving for them?

Here are some tips on how to involve your pets in all of the fun activities, while keeping them safe from the indulgences of the season.

A Dog-Safe Thanksgiving Feast!

People often ask me if turkey is safe for dogs, and I reply that it definitely is a wonderful treat to give your pet on Thanksgiving Day, but make sure it's boneless and thoroughly cooked. Bones can easily become lodged in their throats, and raw or undercooked turkey can contain salmonella - both extremely dangerous situations. Also, remove the skin and any fat to avoid diarrhea or more serious complications like pancreatitis.

Some other good Thanksgiving choices to add to their little plate (in small amounts of course!)

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Green beans
  • Apples
  • Rice
  • Peas
  • Squash
  • Pumpkin

Remember, they need just enough to satisfy their taste-buds, leave the over-indulgence to the humans!

This Dog-Safe Thanksgiving Meal from Kimberly Gauthier includes lean ground beef, mixed veggies, and brown rice and was cooked in the crock pot overnight. 

Thanksgiving foods that AREN'T safe for your dog

The foods to be aware of:

  • Herbs - including Sage and Nutmeg
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Raisins
  • Walnuts
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Mushrooms
  • Raw bread dough
  • Sweets and treats - Chocolate and Artificial Sweeteners especially!

These foods can all cause upset tummies, and no one wants to clean up vomit and diarrhea on Thanksgiving. Some of these foods can also damage your pet's central nervous system. Cats are especially sensitive to oils in food. Raw bread dough can actually rise in your pet's tummy, causing discomfort and a visit to the emergency vet room.

Chocolate and other sweets are very harmful to our pets. Their livers and kidneys are unable to effectively break down the sugars.

The Arrival of Family and Friends

Prevent Escapes. If you have guest coming over, keep in mind that your pets might "Door Dart" with the constant coming and going. Keep your pets safe and away from the door when your guests arrive. Also, this is definitely not the time to train your dog to wait patiently as people are coming through the door. Save that for another day.

Children and Pets. Children and pets do not mix well without supervision. Unfortunately, your animals cannot communicate to you when they're being bothered or feeling anxious and will likely nip or claw out of fear or stress. It should go without saying, but here is a friendly reminder: If your animal has a nipping, mouthing, scratching, or biting issue, please keep him or her away from the festivities.

Reserve a Quiet, "Dogs Only" Zone. It isn't fair to expect your pets to be on their best behaviors when there are several new guests in their territory, but remember, this isn't the time to practice training. Keep your guest and pets happy by secluding your pets in a peaceful, quiet area, and inform your guest they are not to disturb them unless they have your permission first. Your animals will appreciate your leadership in this decision making process.

Make Your Pet's Quiet Area Comfortable

Provide your pets with a few comfortable essentials, such as a radio or television, a cozy doggy bed, and some of their favorite toys.As a special Thanksgiving treat, I give my dogs Romeo and Izzy frozen Kongs filled with peanut butter and banana which keep them occupied for a few hours. Also, don't forget to give them a potty break throughout the day!

Have a safe, wonderful Thanksgiving with your guests and your fur kids!


ASPCA - Thanksgiving Safety Tips

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