Pet Safety Tips for Thanksgiving

Pet Safety Tips for Thanksgiving

Celebrating Thanksgiving? Follow these pet safety tips for Thanksgiving, including safe foods you can feed your pet and how to keep dogs and cats calm during your holiday gathering.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time with family and friends, offering moments to express our gratitude and, of course, indulge a little. As easy as it is for us to overdo it on this lavish holiday, it is important to remember to keep pets safe from all the “extras” of Thanksgiving.

Pets will be just as excited about the spread of tasty foods as you are. They may eat something that is not good for them or even mistake those colorful fruit decorations for something to chew on or play with, all of which can be harmful to your dogs or cats.

With the quickly approaching holiday season, now is a good time to brush up on some Thanksgiving pet safety tips and keep the holiday joyful for all involved.

Thanksgiving Pet Safety Tips

During Thanksgiving, pets are exposed to more threats to their health from extra foods they may be given or by the availability of decorations and family gatherings that may present extra temptations or stress. There are a few simple things you can do to ensure your pets are safe for the Thanksgiving holiday.

A fluffy grey dog stares wide eyed over the top of a cooked turkey

Holiday Food Safety for Your Dog (or Cat)

Thanksgiving is all about gratitude and, yes, food. But not everything you eat is safe for your pets to enjoy at Thanksgiving.

Dog and cat kibble may seem like a weak holiday offering for your furry family members when you’re enjoying so many amazing foods, but even a small scrap or two can pose hidden dangers for them. When you’re busy working in the kitchen to prepare all of those delicious foods, be aware that much of what’s on the menu can be detrimental to your dog or cat’s health. Some Thanksgiving foods can cause gastrointestinal upset for your pets, cause allergic reactions, or can even be fatal.

It is recommended by the ASPCA to stick to your dog and cat’s regular diet, but many people want to share the holiday spirit with their furry friends. It’s OK to offer your pets a mini-feast of their own, but be careful which foods you include in their holiday meal.

Here’s a list of some of the common Thanksgiving foods you can safely give your pets, and some you should not.

Foods That Are OK to Give Your Pets on Thanksgiving

  • A bit of unseasoned, cooked white turkey meat
  • Poatoes
  • Yams and sweet potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Cranberries
  • Apples
  • Roast beef
  • Carrots
  • Green beans
  • Or, as a fun alternative to people’s foods, try these CBD homemade treats for a special Thanksgiving dog blessing!

Foods to Avoid Giving Your Pets for Thanksgiving

  • Alcohol
  • Foods that are heavy with spices and seasoning
  • Onions
  • Raisins or nuts
  • Turkey bones or skin
  • Garlic
  • Buttered or greasy gravy
  • Sweets and cake
  • Chocolate (Dogs should never have chocolate. It can be fatal!)

Remind your guests not to share the Thanksgiving foods off their own plates and assure them you have special preparations for your dogs and cats. Well-meaning guests may give your pets something they should not be eating. Thank them anyway, and redirect them to appropriate doggie and cat nibbles for the holiday.

A white and black and brown dog sits by a fire with his tongue hanging out

Hidden Holiday Decoration Dangers

Most holiday festivities include something else that can pose hidden dangers to pets, from fancy centerpieces to string lights to candles and pretty decor. Keep Thanksgiving decorations out of the reach of your pets, who may mistake them for toys or food. Your dog might gobble up that cornucopia of lovely colored fruits, mistaking it for a tasty meal. These decorations could be toxic and cause choking or create an intestinal blockage, all of which will quickly turn your holiday happiness into a panic.

If your dog or cat ingests something they should not, then have the number of your veterinarian handy in case you need to make that call in the midst of your holiday celebration. It’s also a good idea for anyone with pets to be aware of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control site and number (not just at the holidays), which offers useful safety information.

Also, if you dress your pet up for Thanksgiving, a dog or cat can be adorable in an outfit, be sure the costumes are safe for pet use and supervise your fur babies while they pose for the camera. As cute as they are, remove the costumes after their photoshoot, and don’t let them wear their adorable pilgrim or scarecrow getup when they are alone for their afternoon nap. Thanksgiving dog and cat costumes are très chic, but you don’t want your pets to get entangled or try to chew them off and create a choking hazard.

Holiday Excitement Can Overwhelm Your Pet

On Thanksgiving, pets may feel a bit stressed. All of the smiling faces and people leaning to pet or cuddle may seem harmless enough but can add stress to your pet’s otherwise exciting day. They may be told “no” a bit more as they curiously sniff around for the source of all those wonderful smells.

Think ahead to plan for your pets’ busy day by having some CBD treats and chews on hand to help them stay calm. It’s a quick and easy alternative, and they come in tempting flavors such as peanut butter, chicken & bacon, chicken & catnip, cheese, and bacon.

Too much excitement can be particularly difficult for your pets, causing them to hide or even lash out at your guests. Even if your pets are normally social and pleasant around people, the Thanksgiving holiday may bring more socializing than your pets can handle.

Even with the smaller gatherings expected this year, it is good to keep your pets safe and comfortable. They feel your heightened energy and any stresses you may be experiencing as well.

On Thanksgiving, your dog may chase their tail, trying to figure out what to eat or which hand to lick first. With the change in their normal routine and all the extra activity going on in their home, it can be overly stimulating for them.

Two older people sit at a kitchen table and pet a yellow lab

Keep Pets Calm During Thanksgiving Events

To keep your pets calm during the Thanksgiving festivities, think ahead! Here are a few tips for helping your pets have a smooth and joyful Thanksgiving without feeling too overstimulated.

  • Give your pets a safe space like a kennel or a quiet room where there won’t be any guests coming and going.
  • Provide them their favorite toys or blanket or even one of your own dirty shirts. The scent of you may help your pets to feel safe.
  • If your pets are sensitive to lots of noise, play some soothing music in their quiet space.
  • It’s easy for cats and dogs to get underfoot or sneak out the door with all the people coming in and out. Keep them safe by putting them in their quiet space where you won’t have to worry about them escaping and getting lost or injured.
  • To avoid any issues, it’s best not to leave pets unattended with children. Even if they’re usually good with kids, too many grabbing hands or forced attention can be overwhelming for even the friendliest dog or cat.
  • Take your dog out for a few extra walks or their regular exercise before the festivities begin. This bit of their normal routine can give them the exercise they need and relieve their tension.
  • If your pet uses a daily regimen of CBD tincture, make sure to keep them on their regular serving or even supplement with a CBD treat if your gathering gets boisterous or loud with games and laughter. There’s also a CBD Calming Oil for Dogs that may be particularly helpful to ease holiday tension for your pet.

A little brown dog sits in a travel carrier at an airport

A Word on Thanksgiving Pet Safety for Travel

If you need to travel with your pets for the holiday, remember to do it safely to avoid any travel dangers to your furry family members.

  • Check ahead to be sure it is OK to bring your pets.
  • Secure your pets when you are on the road in a pet-approved harness or crate.
  • Bring along their veterinary information and/or records should they be needed in an emergency.

Happy Thanksgiving for Pets and People!

After such a long and crazy year, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to celebrate friends and family in our lives. If your family includes your favorite feline or canine companion, we hope these pet safety tips for Thanksgiving will help you all enjoy the holiday even more. Follow our blog for more great pet tips and information. From all of us here at cbdMD, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your pets!