Tips for a pet-friendly Thanksgiving

Avoid sharing prepared holiday dishes, which might have ingredients that could make your pet sick.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Thanksgiving can be a very food-centric holiday, but is it safe to share what you’re eating with your dog or cat? San Diego Humane Society has tips to help make this a safer celebration for everyone. 

Feed your pets their normal food

It’s best to stick to their regular diet of wet and/or dry food and usual treats to keep their digestive tracts happy. Avoid sharing prepared holiday dishes, which might have ingredients that could make your pet sick. If you really want to share some of the meal with your pets, and they have no known food allergies or history of stomach sensitivity, save a small amount of lean white turkey meat (with no skin, bones or fat). Feed your pet in their bowl rather than from the table, so you can prevent future begging. 

Avoid the following foods

These can cause anything from vomiting and diarrhea to liver failure or pancreatitis: 

• Bones, skin, turkey fat and gravy. 

• Stuffing and other dishes with onions, garlic, grapes or raisins. 

• Anything cooked with butter. 

If you have guests, ask them not to share food with your pets 

Your family and friends may mean well, but it is important to remind them of the potential dangers. You can also prepare some sealed snack bags in advance and let your guests use those treats instead of sharing from their plates. This can be challenging on a busy holiday, and pets can be sneaky — but it’s important to keep these items away from your animals. 

Offer some pet-friendly fun

  • Give your pets a treat dispenser, such as a Kong for dogs, that will reward them as they stay focused. 
  • Toys can provide activity, distraction and comfort, so offer different kinds of toys. 
  • A new one, like a catnip mouse for your feline, can be a welcome surprise. 

To reduce stress levels, give your pet the option to step away to an enclosed room with their favorite toys and bed. 

Dogs typically pant more when they feel stressed, so on a busy holiday, they may require more water. Always keep fresh water available to drink.

Make sure you maintain your pet’s usual routine. This means both mealtime and playtime. Chances are you’ll need the exercise just as much, right? 

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