The image of a dog stealing a Thanksgiving turkey off the dining room table may make for great entertainment on the big screen (such as in "Marley & Me"), but in reality Thanksgiving can be a dangerous holiday for your pet—and not just because running off with a large turkey could hurt his neck!
Here are six dangers that could be lurking in the kitchen or around the dining room table, and how you can keep your pet safe this Thanksgiving. These tips are courtesy of Fetch! Pet Care, a nationwide pet-sitting and dog-walking franchise.
- Beware of bones: Never feed any sort of bones (raw or cooked) to your pet. These bones splinter easily and can be caught in the pet's throat, causing choking. Bones can also get caught in the pet's intestine, which can require surgery.
- Take it easy with table scraps: It seems like one or two scraps won't do any harm, right? Wrong. Remember, animals are so much smaller than humans, so they simply can't have as much—or the same kind of—food as we do. Also, you may not realize this but some ingredients in a Thanksgiving feast could be toxic to your pet, including onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, chocolate, caffeine and alcohol. To be safe, don't give pets any foods they don't usually eat.
- Check around you when cooking. Sometimes a little kitten or pup near your foot can create a disaster when carrying a platter of food. Also, hot pots could burn them. Your best bet is to keep all your pets out of the kitchen and away from the busy holiday stir.
- Don't indulge your pet in dessert. The last thing your pet needs are sugar and fats. Sugar can lead to obesity, dental problems, and even diabetes. And, once again, chocolate can be toxic to pets.
- You know your pet best when strangers are around. Family and friends often stress a pet out, and if your pet is territorial or unfamiliar with children, it can be dangerous for guests, especially kids who don't know their boundaries. Keep your pet in a separate room or crate him for the duration of your celebration.
- Keep an eye out for other hazards. Toothpicks from appetizers, skewers for holding the turkey together while roasting, and decorations are just a few random hazards that most people don't think to watch out for but which could be harmful to your pets and could result in splinters, choking, and diarrhea. Do you really want to spend Thanksgiving day at the doggie ER? Then keep all this stuff away from your dog or cat.
Finally, when it comes to dogs, a well-exercised pet is a less stressed animal. So when your family takes its traditional after-dinner walk, leash up your dog and take him along. It will do you all good.
How do you handle things with the holidays and your pets?
Other Pet-Related Stories: