The Biggest Dangers To Pets on Thanksgiving

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Diana Guerrero Pet Expert

There can be deadly consequences for pets and dogs during Thanksgiving the holidays. Holiday threats to pets can include seasonal decorations, ornamental lighting, ingestion of inappropriate or toxic items, excessive consumption of rich foods or harmful food, candle flames, and many other hazards.

Before you sit down to feast don't forget your dogs and cats and take away temptation from both guests and pets. If you feed pets before the guests arrive you reduce the temptation for begging and stealing. You can also use a pet gate or play pen to house the pet nearby, but provide a safety barrier.

One of the easiest ways to avoid trouble is to make sure your guests know the pet rules and discourage them from feeding critters scraps from the table. The best approach is to make sure any animal is occupied with a chewy or playmates in another room. Once the table is cleared, make sure pets cannot get to scraps or bones.

The biggest hazards to pets on Thanksgiving include:

- Rich, fatty foods (turkey skins, gravy, etc,) can contribute to pancreatitis. This gland inflammation is painful and can be serious-requiring emergency veterinary assistance.

- Cooked bones can splinter and cause tears or obstruction in a pet's digestive tract.

- Baking strings, if ingested, can create trouble if ingested by your pet.

- Onions in holiday stuffing can lead to canine anemia if consumed by your dog.

- Grapes and raisin toxins can cause kidney failure in pets.


- Ingesting chocolate can cause seizures or kill your pet.

- Caffeine and alcohol are also toxic for pets.

The solution is that you need to keep all goodies out of reach of your pets. Preventative safety measures are the best strategies so store leftover food out of reach and in tightly closed containers.

Next, make sure garbage cans are secured to keep critters out so they are safe from e-coli and unable to chew on leftover tinfoil.

What can you do instead to protect your pet?

Pet households should consider providing appropriate chew toys or food occupation devices for pets during the holiday activities.

The Kong Company produces great products and there is a goodie dispenser that keeps dogs occupied, which is purr-fect. Look for great bird and cat toys that provide similar activity as most pet stores carry these products.

The investment and preparation can insure that you and your pets have a happy and healthy holiday. Finally, just in case you have a problem, it never hurts to keep your emergency vet clinic or veterinary hospital number handy.

You never know when you will encounter a disaster during holiday festivities.

Diana L Guerrero is an animal expert with over 30 years of experience with both wild and domestic animals. Based in California, the Ark Lady runs multiple websites and works as a pet parenting coach, freelance writer, and professional speaker. Guerrero is often featured in the media as a pet expert and is the author of "What Animals Can Teach Us about Spirituality: Inspiring Lessons of Wild & Tame Creatures" and "Blessing of the Animals: Prayers & Other Ceremonies Celebrating Pets & Other Creatures"