Six Tips for a Safe Thanksgiving with your Dog and Cat

Safe Thanksgiving with your dog and catThanksgiving is a wonderful time, invoking thoughts of home-cooked turkey and all the trimmings, sharing love and laughter with family and friends, as well as toasting the start of the holiday season. Diets will wait when tables of turkey and ham, gravy, mashed and sweet potatoes, rolls, vegetables and, of course, pumpkin pie are served. Food for everyone? Hold on. Let’s all have a safe Thanksgiving with your dog.

Here are?six tips for a safe Thanksgiving with your dog and cat.

Holiday decorations
When you decorate, think of how a child could hurt themselves if they can get a hold of your holiday decorations. (Pets are our children, after all, right?.) Decorations can be attractive to a dog and especially a cat. Be sure that they are out of reach or, if you have a cat who is comfortable with heights, make sure that decorations cannot be knocked off a shelf. Be careful with candles and consider battery operated candles if you have an inquisitive cat.

Identify your dog or cat
It is easy for your dog or cat to slip through the door when guests arrive. Be sure they have their collar on with an ID tag with their name and your phone number engraved on it. Better yet, make sure they have a microchip so you can be identified as the owner and be contacted if they are picked up. (be sure your information is registered in a microchip database).

Stick to the schedule
Keep to your dog or cat’s schedule on Thanksgiving day as much as possible. Take them for a long walk before guests arrive so they will get some exercise. Feed them at their normal time, even if they are a bit distracted by the activity around them. Not that it may make a difference, but feeding them before the big meal may cut down on begging.

Deal with kitchen confusion
Kitchens are popular places during Thanksgiving and wonderful smells quickly attract your furry friends. Take care to pick up any scraps that fall on the floor. Handle raw turkeys with great care and disinfect all counters, cutting boards and knives after contact. Take out the trash often and keep the lid securely closed. After dinner, make sure dishes are stacked where your dog or cat cannot reach them until they are rinsed or washed. Refrigerate leftovers as soon as you can.

Pets can get underfoot
Your guests may not be accustomed to pets being underfoot. Although your cat may hide, dogs, being social, will want to mingle with your guests. If your guests will be standing before dinner, or you have an overly enthusiastic pup, then consider keeping your them in another room, after introductions, until after your guests are seated at the dining room table.

Set the rules
The first people that your dog or cat will approach for food is your guests. Why? Because guests don’t know the rules of the house. If you normally feed your dog or cat while you are eating (bad habit), then prepare a plate of tid-bits (read on) so that everyone can share the feast with your pet. Otherwise, tell your guests not to feed your pets until after dinner is over. Once fed at the table, your dog or cat will become lifetime beggars.

What can your dog and cat eat on turkey day?

Your dog or cat can eat small bits of unseasoned and cooked,? white turkey (no gravy), cooked or raw white or sweet potato (remove some pieces from the pot before you whip them), macaroni and cheese, green beans, carrots, corn, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, pumpkin, apples, blueberries, yogurt, cottage cheese and a bit of baked bread. Small amounts of peanuts, raw almonds and cashews are also safe for your dog.

What foods to avoid sharing on turkey day?
Do not feed your dog or cat any alcohol, ham, pork, turkey bones, stuffing, gravy, onions, casseroles, marshmallows or any desserts as this can cause stomach upset. Who needs that on turkey day?

Have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving with your dog and cat. For more tips on pet health and travel, go to


Six Tips for a Safe Thanksgiving with your Dog and Cat — 3 Comments

  1. Eileen – rabies vaccinations can last one to three years depending on the vaccine. Ask your veterinarian, but it is certain that the rabies vaccination has expired. It will need to be renewed prior to travel. If you are traveling within the EU, have your vet administer a one year rabies vaccination.

  2. Cannot find on the internet what I think is a reasonable question. I brought my cay to Sweden, rabies tested and microchip in 2011 how long does the the rabies vacations last. Is it a once in a lifetime or are required boosters required.

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