Keeping Your Furry Friends Safe & Happy This Thanksgiving

Dr. Austin Neely
Partner Veterinarian CityVet Mid-Cities

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and feasting, but it’s also a time to think about the safety and well-being of our beloved pets. While we’re busy preparing a delicious Thanksgiving meal and traveling to visit loved ones, it’s essential to consider our furry family members. Our CityVet DVM, Dr. Neely, shares with us tips for pet safety, what not to feed your pets, whether it’s okay to give them table scraps, alternative ways to involve your pets in the festivities, and tips for safe road trips and pet boarding during Thanksgiving.

Keeping Your Furry Friends Safe and Happy This Thanksgiving

1. What Not to Feed Your Pets

While Thanksgiving feasts are a delight for us, they can be a danger to our pets. Some common foods can be toxic to animals. 

Never Feed Your Pets:

  • Turkey Bones: Poultry bones can splinter and cause choking or digestive issues.
  • Onions and Garlic: These ingredients can be toxic to dogs and cats, leading to anemia.
  • Grapes and Raisins: These can cause kidney failure in some pets.
  • Chocolate and Xylitol: Both can be deadly to pets.
  • Alcohol: Even small amounts can be dangerous.
  • Nuts: Macadamia nuts, in particular, can be toxic to dogs.
  • Sage and Nutmeg: These spices can cause digestive upset and central nervous system issues in pets.

2. Can You Give Table Scraps?

While it’s tempting to share the joy of your Thanksgiving meal with your furry friend, it’s best to avoid giving them table scraps. Instead, prepare a special pet-friendly treat in advance, such as a small amount of plain, cooked turkey or a pet-safe recipe. Remember that sudden dietary changes can upset their stomach, so moderation is key.

Keeping Your Furry Friends Safe and Happy This Thanksgiving

3. Alternative Ways to Involve Your Pets

Thanksgiving can still be a joyous time for your pets without sharing human food. Try these alternatives:

  • Interactive Toys: Invest in puzzle toys that dispense treats to keep your pet engaged.
  • Pet-Friendly Activities: Take your dog for a long walk or play games to keep them active.
  • Homemade Pet Treats: Bake or buy special pet treats as a Thanksgiving surprise.
  • Include Them in Festivities: Let your pet join the family gatherings, providing a quiet, safe space for them to retreat if needed.

4. Tips for Safe Road Trips with Pets

If you’re hitting the road for Thanksgiving, ensure your pet’s safety and comfort:

  • Secure Them: Use pet seat belts, carriers, or travel crates to keep your pet safe during the journey.
  • Frequent Breaks: Stop regularly for bathroom breaks and exercise.
  • Pack Essentials: Bring their food, water, medications, and familiar toys.
  • Keep Them Calm: Some pets get anxious during car rides, so consider calming methods like natural remedies or prescription medications from your vet.

5. Boarding Your Pet During Thanksgiving Travel

If you decide to board your pet during your Thanksgiving trip, follow these tips:

  • Plan Ahead: Book with a boarding facility ahead of schedule as this time of year can get quite busy. Ruffit by CityVet offers boarding services and could be a good option!
  • Update Vaccinations: Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date.
  • Leave Emergency Contacts: Give the boarding facility your contact information and that of a local emergency contact.

Thanksgiving is a time to express gratitude for our family, and our pets are no exception. By taking steps to ensure their safety, comfort, and happiness, you can include them in the festivities and make Thanksgiving a joyful time for every member of the family.