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Keep Pets Safe on Thanksgiving

Pumpkin is a safe treat for your pet!
Lisa Zins
Pumpkin is a safe treat for your pet!

This coming week we celebrate Thanksgiving, a time to be with our family and friends, including the 4-legged kind.  We can enjoy the company and of course, the food!  Unfortunately, much of the food in our Thanksgiving meal might be bad, even dangerous, for our pets.  In fact, Thanksgiving (and the days following) often see an increase in emergency trips to the veterinarian.

     Some of our traditional Thanksgiving fare is fine for our furry friends, including turkey, green beans, even pumpkin.  The important thing to remember is that whatever you give your pet should not have any butter, spices, cream sauce, or fat.

     Also on the list of foods to avoid: no turkey bones or skin, no gravy, no ham - no raisins, grapes, onion, or garlic - no stuffing, mashed potatoes, no yeast dough, and of course, no chocolate.  In fact, avoid all sweets, especially anything with xylitol.

     While you’re at it, make sure your kitchen trash is in a place that cannot be accessed by your pet.  That sensitive nose is sure to sniff out yummy-smelling items that could cause serious problems.

     And make sure everyone in the house, family and guests alike, know not to share their food with any four-legged buddies during or after dinner.  Let them know you are not trying to be mean; instead, you are trying to keep your best friend healthy – and alive.

     It’s true that some of the items on the forbidden list may just cause a tummy ache, but others could pose a serious risk to your pet’s health and even to its life.  If your pet does eat something it shouldn’t, you can call the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661.  Have your card ready to pay the $75 fee.  In Tuscaloosa, there is an Emergency Vet Clinic; and there may be a handful of vet clinics open on Friday after Thanksgiving, if you can wait that long without endangering your pet’s life.

     Keeping your best friend safe and healthy this holiday will be just one more reason to be thankful, when you’re speaking of pets.


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