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Thanksgiving with Our Pets

Pilgrim cat?
theogeo (Lindsey Turner)
Pilgrim cat?

Including our pets in our holiday celebrations is something many of us like to do. Whether you're staying home or hitting the road, a little planning can help to make the holiday safe and happy for everyone!


Like the song says, “There’s no place like home for the holidays,” and lots of people are making travel plans to spend Thanksgiving with family and friends. When you’re a pet owner, deciding whether to travel has to include plans for your best friend. Several polls have shown that ten-to-fifteen percent of owners stay home because of their pets. Roughly a third of owners go, but only for a few days because they don’t like being away from their furry friends that long. As for the rest of us, well, we either find someone to care for our pets while we’re gone – or, we take them with us.

I usually don’t travel with cats. They generally are not as adaptable to new environments. They do much better if I can leave them at home and have a trustworthy neighbor or friend come in to make sure they have food, water and clean litter.

Dogs can be great traveling companions, especially if you spend the time to get them accustomed to riding in the car beforehand. It helps to make advance arrangements for overnight stays, as many places still do not accept pets. And be prepared to order your meals from the drive-through window, so you don’t have to leave your dog unattended in the car.

Whether you take your pet with you for Thanksgiving or stay home, remember not to let your furry friend eat too much rich food, and no turkey bones – like bones from chicken and other birds, they are hollow and splinter easily. You could find yourself making an emergency trip to the veterinarian’s office.

I think the most important thing to remember on this wonderful holiday is to be thankful - for all our blessings, including the companionship, faithfulness and patience of our animal friends who share our lives. The more care and affection we give our pets, the more love they return to us. How could we not be thankful for that?

I want to wish a happy and blessed Thanksgiving to you and all your family and friends, especially when you’re speaking of pets.


Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.
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