Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Pets

Updated: December 17, 2023

Thanksgiving is probably one of the most awaited holidays of the year as it brings you closer with your family & friends where you celebrate gratitude and blessings together. But even though it is a great celebration, it may also bring hazards and dangers for our furry family members. That’s why Thanksgiving pet safety is so important!

thanksgiving safety tips for pets

In this article, we will talk about Thanksgiving holiday safety tips for pets to keep them happier, healthier, and safer during this special holiday. We will share the Thanksgiving foods not safe for pets to consume, tips for hosting with pets, and even tips for how to safely get your pets dressed up for Thanksgiving.

Poison Risks

Overindulging and binge eating is unhealthy for humans, but even more so for our fur-babies. Thanksgiving feasts are full of:

  • fatty and oily foods that are difficult for fur-babies to digest
  • holiday treats that are made with ingredients toxic to pets
  • poultry foods whose bones may cause choking hazards and gastrointestinal issues

To help prevent these dangers and poison risks, you must:

  • Keep foods ON the table. Your feast must be kept on your Thanksgiving table, not under it or in some other places. By doing so, you will be able to supervise well the food and your pets as some Thanksgiving foods are considered toxic to pets, like raisins and grapes. If you want your fur-baby preoccupied and away from the Thanksgiving table, you can provide them with Gnawtlers®. These are premium elk and antler chews that contain nutritious bone marrow your pet dogs will surely love! Gnawtlers® are all-natural and do not easily splinter so your dog can chew all day without you having to go crazy about all the possible dangers that can happen while they’re gnawing this good stuff.
  • Be careful of the turkey. Is turkey dangerous to dogs? The answer can be yes and no. According to The American Kennel Club, turkey is not poisonous to fur-babies, especially to dogs. As a matter of fact, some commercial dog foods contain turkey as this is rich in riboflavin, protein, and phosphorus. It can also be cooked plain to be an ingredient for a homemade dog diet but must be under the guidance of your veterinarian. However, Thanksgiving turkeys are not cooked plain. Usually, we add in oils, butter, seasonings, herbs, and spices. We stuff them with more herbs, garlic, and onions. This is how turkeys become dangerous for our fur-babies as garlic and other members of the allium family, including onions, contain thiosulfate, which is toxic to dogs as stated by the Merck Veterinary Manual.
  • Do not give your pets desserts or pies. This is a big no-no. Chocolates are harmful to pets, particularly to dogs. And the artificial sweetener used in many baked goods and gums can also be life-threatening if consumed by your pet.
  • Keep the garbage bin out of your pet’s reach. Garbage bins and trash containers can easily be opened by your curious fur-baby. These bins may contain turkey bones, other food carcasses, and any used items that were used to tie or to cover food like plastic bags and strings. These can cause possible suffocation to your pet.

When Hosting Thanksgiving Parties

Here are some Thanksgiving pet safety tips you can plan if you’re hosting a Thanksgiving party with family and friends or have overnight visitors. You can also share these holiday safety tips with guests to ensure that everyone is working together to keep your furbabies safe.

  • Never leave your pets outside. Thanksgiving is a busy time and you will certainly be all around the house, and will probably be in and out running errands, visiting family, etc. One easy Thanksgiving pet safety tip to follow is to never leave your furbabies unattended outside. Around the holidays, some ruthless people seem to come around more often to steal packages or break into homes for Christmas gifts that are being purchased. These people can be a threat to your pet, as they can injure, scare, steal and sadly, kill pets. Make sure your pets are housed safely indoors and be cautious of these things, especially around the holidays. If you have more visitors or different visitors than normal, your pet may also be feeling a bit nervous or extra stimulated. Keep a close eye on them and keep doors shut to eliminate the risk of your dog or cat running off.
  • Confine your pets. While it is true that our fur-babies are social animals, visitors can still upset and exhaust them. Thanksgiving visitors mean there will be a lot of people in your house (some your pets haven’t even seen before), loud laughter and noises, and usually busy activities compared to what your fur-baby is used to from their day-to-day activities. If your fur-baby s nervous or anxious about having guests at home, you can confine them in their crate or in another room with their favorite chew, like the Gnawtlers®. Confining them will help reduce their stress levels, help you prevent any possible accidents and injuries, and prevent your fur-baby from escaping and running away. You can also prepare Pet Parents® Calming SoftSupps®. These supplements help keep your fur-baby calm and relax during stressful situations. Pet Parents® Calming SoftSupps® contain Suntheanine® that is clinically studied for advancing a feeling of relaxation & mental alertness in dogs. Note: Pet Parents® SoftSupps® are only for dogs.
  • Guard the exits. Always keep watch of the exits. Even if your fur-babies are okay with having visitors around, escapes can still be possible. Make sure to update your pet’s ID tag and microchip. Though this is not a guarantee to locate where your pet is, it increases the chances of your fur-baby being found and returned to you.
  • Provide diapers and pads. Your pet can get overwhelmed and excited on Thanksgiving being surrounded by several people whether it is at your home, or at grandma's house. And too much stress or excitement can make them pee or poop in places they shouldn't be. Many dogs will also experience excitement urination with all the new visitors. To avoid having to deal with the clean-up of a crazy mess, allow your pet to wear diapers or you can leave pee pads on their confinement area. This will alleviate and help them with their need to pee every time the doorbell rings and or when unknown people are approaching and surrounding them.

Thanksgiving Costume Reminders

If your fur-baby loved dressing up during Halloween, then you might as well think about dressing them in a hilarious turkey outfit or a delightful pilgrim costume. Our Halloween costume safety tips also apply for Thanksgiving costumes.:

  • do not force them to wear it
  • comfiness is a priority; avoid being extra with enormous costumes
  • find a costume that’s not too tight or too loose
  • beware of choking hazards like beads, buttons, studs, etc.
  • ensure your fur-baby’s costume does not limit their movements or their senses
  • have them wear Pet Parents® Washable Dog Diapers or Pet Parents® Washable Belly Bands that will match your fur-baby’s costume and will keep them clean and dry.

Thanksgiving Pet Safety with Decorations

Thanksgiving decors like pumpkins and corns are not toxic to pets but can be harmful and may cause a gastrointestinal upset if your fur-baby has consumed too much. Also, be careful with lit candles as your pet may knock these over and may cause an unexpected fire accident. Yikes!

It is also better to keep any electric wires out of your fur-baby’s reach, including glass ornaments, pinecones, tinsels, etc. (if you are already decorating for the holiday season) as they may gnaw on it and get injured.

You will also want to be careful in putting up Thanksgiving decorations that are small and can easily fit in your furbaby’s mouth as these could be choking hazards. Additionally, be mindful of shiny and glittering decors, like glass ornaments and sequins. Pets, particularly cats, get easily attracted to shiny things! They like shiny things because they are attracted by the glow of the object. Simply keep these out of their paw’s reach.

Looking for pet-friendly decorations? Our Pawtect® Blankets are more than just a cozy throw! They are 100% waterproof with heavy duty absorption, and the LockJaw™ binding is great for deterring pesky chewers, making it a great choice for stylish, pet-friendly area.

"Is turkey dangerous to dogs? The answer can be yes and no. As a matter of fact, some commercial dog foods contain turkey. However, Thanksgiving turkeys are not cooked plain. Usually, we add in oils, butter, seasonings, herbs, and spices. This is how turkeys become dangerous."

Secure All Strings

If you have pet cats, this is for you. Cats love strings! This is practically so because strings and other string-like items move like mouse tails, lizards, or other small prey, igniting their predatory senses, making it almost impossible for them to resist it. Strings and other similar string-like objects (like ribbons and threads) can cause great danger for your pet, according to PetMD. These items, when ingested, can become caught up in your furbaby’s intestinal tract. So, be sure to tuck away any string-like objects after use.

Keep Away Cut Plants and Flowers

Cut plants and flowers make beautiful decorations during Thanksgiving but most of these are harmful to your pet. An example of these are lilies. Lilies are toxic to your furbaby and even direct contact in small portions can be deadly. Other toxic plants and flowers to pets include poinsettias, daffodils, chrysanthemums, and tulips. Also, be careful with other popular Autumn plant decorations like the crocus and acorns from oak trees.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals maintains a database of toxic plants and flowers. If you are not sure whether your Thanksgiving decor poses danger to your pets, you can check out the database or place them somewhere that is out of your pet’s reach. If you suspect your furbaby has ingested a poisonous plant, think fast. Contact your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic right away.

Avoid Open Flames

The saying “Curiosity kills” is true. Pets are curious. If you keep open flames as Thanksgiving décor, there is a huge possibility that they may burn or injure themselves. Be sure to blow out candles if you are not in the room and always keep a guard in front of a fireplace. Open flames may also bring fire hazards to your celebration in case your pet knocks them over.

Always Be Prepared for Emergencies

Sometimes, no matter how much we prepare, bad things can still happen. It’s always better to save your veterinarian’s contact number and keep a handy pet first-aid kit. As a pet parent, it is your liability to prepare and know how essential it is to put together a first aid kit to be able to avoid panic and fright in any medical emergencies during Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for all the blessings of the past year. And it just makes so much sense to keep our fur-babies safe as they are one of the graces we’re lucky enough to have in this lifetime.

"If you want your fur-baby preoccupied and away from the Thanksgiving table, you can provide them with Gnawtlers®. These are premium elk and antler chews that contain nutritious bone marrow your pet dogs will surely love!"

Thanksgiving is a great time to celebrate your family, friends, and furry friends and celebrate the blessing of the past year. Knowing how to keep your furbaby safe in the upcoming holiday season. Enjoy this Thanksgiving with peace of mind knowing you are prepared with these holiday safety tips for the big day and for the rest of the holidays to come.