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A Paw-sitively Safe Thanksgiving: Tips for Celebrating with Your Furry Family Members

At Mission Animal Hospital, we understand the importance of including our four-legged family members in the festivities while ensuring their safety and happiness. Here are some valuable tips for a paw-sitively safe Thanksgiving celebration with your beloved furry family members.

Mindful Meal Planning:

While Thanksgiving is synonymous with delicious feasts, not all festive foods are safe for our pets. While we indulge in a variety of tasty treats, it's crucial to resist the temptation to share with our furry friends. Foods like chocolate, onions, garlic, grapes, and raisins can be toxic to pets. Many of our holiday foods tend to be high in fat that can cause gastric upset to our pets and in some cases even cause pancreatitis. Larger dogs can be “counter surfers” so make sure to keep foods in safe containers and out of reach. Additionally, bones, especially those cooked, can splinter and cause serious internal damage. Instead, treat your pets with their usual treats and snacks.

These feasts also generate a considerable amount of tempting leftovers and food scraps. Ensure that your trash is securely closed or stored in a pet-proof container to prevent your curious companions from indulging in these potentially harmful items once the feasting is done.

Tip: If you are a baker, dogs are attracted to yeast and if they get into rising dough (often left unattended on counters), it can be an emergency situation as the dough will continue rising in their stomachs. Seek veterinary care immediately if your pets get into rising dough.

Manage Stress and Anxiety:

Thanksgiving is often a time when friends and family come together to celebrate. The hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving gatherings can stress out even the most laid-back pets with new faces, loud noises, and enticing aromas. Create a quiet and comfortable space where your pets can retreat to if the festivities become too much for them. This designated area should include their bed, toys, and perhaps some soothing background music to help them relax. Some pets can benefit from medications to help manage stress and anxiety, so discuss those options with your veterinarian.

You should also warn your guests to be mindful of the doors while they come and go to prevent pet escapes. They can also be mindful of things like handbags that may attract nosy pets, who can ingest medications or treats stowed there.

Tip: Place a sign on the outside of your front door asking your holiday guests to not ring the doorbell and to quickly close the door behind them, so our pets who are escape artists stay safe. That bell constantly ringing can cause added stress to our pets inside.

Decorate with Care:

Thanksgiving decorations add a festive touch to our homes, but some can pose risks to our pets. Keep an eye on candles, potpourri, and other decorative items that may attract curious noses or paws. Cornucopias and table centerpieces might contain items that are harmful if ingested, so choose decorations wisely and place them out of your pet's reach.

As you decorate for the holidays after Thanksgiving, use extra care to ensure that holiday plants are out of reach, tinsel is hung above pet level, cords are covered, and the water for natural trees is covered and pets are not able to drink it.

Tip: Pets will knock things over! Keep them away from open flames like candles and anchor the Christmas tree to a wall.

This Thanksgiving, let's express gratitude for our furry family members by prioritizing their safety and well-being. By following these tips, you can create a warm and inclusive celebration that includes all members of your family. At Mission Animal Hospital, we wish you and your pets a joyful and safe Thanksgiving filled with love, laughter, and lots of tail wags and kitty purrs!

Two hotlines we recommend to have on speed dial (in case one doesn’t answer right away). Both the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 and the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661 offer 24/7 emergency assistance (they also charge a per-incident fee).

This article was generated with some content from ChatGPT and created with the assistance of a veterinarian.


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