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The weather is colder, leaves litter the ground, and stores are busier as people get their turkeys and the trimmings. All of which indicates Thanksgiving is right around the corner. And whereas it’s a time of feasting with family and friends, you have to consider your pets and Thanksgiving, like what treats, if any, you give them.
Also, some of you will stay home and spend the holiday with family at your own homes. While others will travel. But what about your pets? Do you board them or take them with you? Below are some tips to keep your pets safe and hopefully stress-free this Thanksgiving.
Pets and Thanksgiving Food Risks
First, I’m going to cover foods to avoid giving your pets, like dogs and cats. Although, if you have a bunny, check this out for a list of things to avoid, as well as treats that are safe. So don’t give your pets:
- FATTY FOODS
Don’t give fatty foods (ex, turkey skin, gravy, and casseroles) to your cats and dogs, even if they beg, because those foods can lead to pancreatitis.
The stuffing could contain raisins or grapes, let alone the other ingredients. And if your fur baby eats any, it can cause kidney failure in cats and dogs.
Also, while we can eat onions and garlic, they’re toxic to your pets.
Don’t let your pet have chocolate or raw eggs from cake or cookie batter. And avoid letting them have desserts which could contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in chewing gum, because it’s toxic to your fur babies.
- BREAD DOUGH
Uncooked yeast ferments the carbohydrates in bread dough, producing carbon dioxide and ethanol. When your pet eats raw dough, it continues this process in their stomach. And your fur baby becomes muddled, bloated, and has impaired coordination, the result of alcohol poisoning.
Poultry bones are small and brittle, making them especially dangerous to your cats and dogs. Whether the bones break or not, they can get stuck in your pets’ GI tracts. Or break a tooth, perforate their intestines, or cause an intestinal blockage. None of which are good, and all would require a vet visit.
If, on the other hand, you have backyard chickens and want to get rid of that turkey carcass, go on ahead and give it to them. It won’t bother them one bit. Actually, any leftovers you have, except dessert, should be fine. They’ll eat it all. See this for more details on what your backyard birds can or can’t have.
Thanksgiving Treats that are Safe for Pets
If you’re disposed to feed a feast to your pet, first there are a couple of requirements. DON’T substitute treats for their regular food. And a good rule of thumb to follow is to give your pet no more than 10% of their daily caloric needs.
For instance, our dog Sophie weighs 30 lbs, and her daily caloric intake is ~600. So we shouldn’t give her treats in excess of 60 calories. Thus, her total treats shouldn’t be more than 60 calories combined.
But for your pets on Thanksgiving, you can either buy them their own special treat, or you can offer them:
This is perfectly safe as long as it’s cooked, boneless and unseasoned turkey meat.
- sweet potato
Again, so long as this is a plain sweet potato, without the casserole, your pet will be ok. However, only let them have a little bit.
You can give your pets fresh, plain cranberries in moderation. Though canned cranberry sauce is too sweet to give to them, while dried cranberries often have added sugar. Although, your fur baby might not eat plain, fresh cranberries, so try cooking them (without sugar) and combine them with pumpkin.
Apples are a great snack for your fur baby, but again, moderation is key. And be sure the pieces aren’t a choking risk, and remove the seeds and core.
Canned pumpkin is better than fresh pumpkin, because it’s cooked and has a higher concentration of fiber. But, if you get canned pumpkin, make certain it’s NOT pumpkin pie filling.
- green beans
Both cats and dogs can have plain, green beans. However, cats need their veggies cooked since they lack an adequate way to break down plant cell walls.
***If you think your pet has eaten something on the ‘Do Not Eat’ list, call you vet or a local clinic ASAP. Signs of pain/suffering include an immediate change in behavior, lethargy, pain, vomiting, or loose stools.
Pets and Company at Thanksgiving
Even if you have the calmest fur baby in the world, there’s still a lot to look out for and to be aware of when mixing guests and pets. Below are some tips for your pets to have an anxiety-free time.
- Guests can stress our pets
Both cats and dogs experience stress when company visits their homes, however it’s for different reasons. Dogs are territorial, while cats don’t like things happening outside of the routine. But, if you’re already aware that your pet is nervous with a crowd, then put them in a separate room, closed off from access to guests, with some toys.
Or you could put your pet in a crate with their favorite toy, if you think someone might disturb them, to protect your guests. If your fur baby is very upset by company, talk to your vet about alternative solutions to this issue.
- Pets can stress out our guests
Just as our pets can get anxious by strangers in their home, our company can get nervous around our pets. Or the types of pets we keep, and exotic pets are no exception. So keep your company and exotic animals firmly away from each other.
With that in mind, if any of your guests are immune-compromised or pregnant, inform them about any and all pets, especially any exotics you may have.
- Mind the doors
If your pets get on well with company, this is even more important, because in the confusion of people coming and going, your pet can step out the door with no one the wiser.
- ID tag and microchip your pets
Be sure that your fur baby has the most up-to-date identification, especially a microchip with current, registered information. That way, in the event they do manage to get out, they’re more likely to be reunited with you. If your pet isn’t microchipped, talk to your vet about it.
- Watch your pet around decorations and plants
Don’t leave your pet alone with a burning candle, because accidents happen, and it could lead to a fire. Also, when it comes to decorating with plants, there are many that are harmful to pets. So it’s best to keep all plants and table decorations away from your fur babies.
Traveling with Your Pet at Thanksgiving
Now if you’re traveling with your pet, there are other things you need to take care of, such as:
- making sure your fur baby’s vaccinations are up-to-date.
- restraining your pet while driving, either in their carrier or a secure harness.
- and finally, never leave your pet alone in the car.
If you’re like me, with 20-something backyard birds, 5 or 6 ducks, 3 cats, one that’s still intact and lives in the house, and 1 female dog, who’s also still intact and lives in the house, you might be trapped to your home. And thus, pets, because they all have a lot of different requirements.
But it’s ok, because I love them. However, I’d like to hear about you and your pets around the holidays. What do you do? Do you take your pets with you or do you board them? Or get a neighbor to keep an eye on things?
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