Thanksgiving Pet Safety Tips

17 Nov 2020 | Written by Freshpet

Turkey, decorations, and time spent with family and friends – these are the things that make Thanksgiving special. Unfortunately, they can also pose a risk to your beloved pets. We’ve put together six tips that will help keep your pet safe during all of your Thanksgiving celebrations.

Save the food for the human guests

As tempting as it can be to slip your pet a little treat from the table, try to resist. Fatty foods are very hard for animals to digest, so turkey or even turkey skin can cause them to develop pancreatitis – a life-threatening condition that causes the inflammation of the pancreas. In addition to the risk of pancreatitis, many of the ingredients found in Thanksgiving dishes, such as onions, garlic, raisins, and chocolate are toxic to pets. For more details on human foods your pet should avoid, take a look at the ASPCA comprehensive list.

Set a plate just for them

It’s understandable that you want your pet to join in on the Thanksgiving festivities, they are family after all! A great way to do this is to put together a plate they can safely enjoy at the same time everyone else is eating. For the main dish, try our Vital® Grain-Free Turkey Recipe with Cranberries and Blueberries and for a side dish, add one or more of the items from our list of pet-safe human foods!

Be mindful of guests

Your Thanksgiving celebration this year will likely be smaller than in previous years, but even if you only have one or two people over, keep an eye on your pet’s behavior. Having additional people in the house can cause some pets to become shy or nervous, while others become overly excited. In either of these situations, pets may try to escape the house and risk becoming lost. To deter them from leaving the house, give your pet their own place where they can take a break from the commotion. A spare room is great, but even a crate or high self will work well as long as it’s away from the noise and there is room for a comfortable bed, water, and their favorite toys.

Make sure their ID is up to date

In the event that your pet does escape from your house, a microchip is their best chance of finding their way home. Studies have found that the return-to-owner rate was 20 times higher for cats and 2.5 times higher for dogs with a microchip. Before Thanksgiving, take a moment to review your pet’s microchip information to ensure the details are up-to-date. If your pet isn’t microchipped, make sure that they have a secure collar with an ID tag.

Keep the festive decorations out of reach

We aren’t the only thing who love Thanksgiving decorations – our pets are often interested in them as well. Natural decorations, like flowers, greenery, or pinecones, are beautiful but should be placed away from four-legged attendees. If consumed, they can cause intestinal blockage or perforation and some plants and flowers are highly toxic. Similarly, candles add a cozy ambience but should be kept out of reach of a curious paw or wagging tail. The ASPCA’s poison control centre has a detailed list of all toxic plants and food as well as the number for a hotline you can call for immediate assistance.

Secure the trash

Even the most well-behaved pets can’t help but be tempted by Thanksgiving scraps, so make sure that they can’t turn the trash into an all-you-can-eat buffet. In addition to the risk of pancreatitis or poisoning from eating unsafe human food, there is also the added risk of choking on bones or packaging. Dispose of any waste in a trash can with a secure lid or in another room behind a closed door.

From our Freshpet family to yours, we hope you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

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