Happy Thanksgiving – Pet Safety Tips

Thanksgiving is a special holiday that brings together family and friends, but it also can carry some hazards for pets. Holiday food needs to be kept away from pets.  In the spirit of attempting to prevent a Thanksgiving Day disaster in your home, here are some common exposures that we get called about during the week of Thanksgiving.

Cut the fat – Fatty or rich foods like beef fat, poultry skin and gravy can cause severe gastrointestinal issues in pets, including:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive gas
  • Serious diseases like pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is a severe inflammation of the pancreas, an organ that produces digestive enzymes. On the mild side, pancreatitis can cause vomiting and a decrease in appetite, but can potentially be fatal.

If you want to treat your pet, it’s best to stick to a pet treat or a couple of small bites of lean poultry or unsalted/unbuttered vegetables.

Bones are bad – Although bones from our holiday birds look good to pets, they are dangerous and can cause intestinal upset and may even splinter when chewed. These splinters can cause damage to the intestines that can lead to infection, intestinal blockage, or even death.

Watch the packaging

  • Make sure you dispose of any turkey or other food packaging quickly and appropriately.
  • All strings, plastic holders and bags that have a meat smell to them can be very attractive to a pet. Once ingested, these items can cause damage or blockage of the intestines.

Chocolate is particularly toxic – Consider all the cookies and desserts offered during the holidays, many of which contain chocolate. Chocolate is dangerous for dogs in particular because it contains theobromine, a caffeine-like ingredient that can be toxic to your pet. Dogs are not able to metabolize theobromine as quickly as humans. Especially keep your pet away from dark, semi-sweet and baker’s chocolate because they contain higher levels of theobromine.  Complications include:

  • Digestive upset
  • Dehydration
  • Excitability
  • Slow heart rate
  • Later stages of theobromine poisoning include epileptic-like seizures and pet death.


We hope that you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.  We will be closed Thursday to share the day with our families, but we will be open Friday and Saturday.  Give us a call if your pet is showing any sign of holiday hangover!