7 Thanksgiving Safety Tips for your Dog

Thanksgiving is a day where we gather our friends and family together to give thanks for what we have, and we celebrate with a plethora of delicious food. However, while we enjoy our meal, our dogs have a high risk of becoming injured or ill due to all of the tasty treats and decorations they can get into around the holidays. Your dog won’t be so thankful if they eat some meat bones or a toxic (to them) decoration. We know you are thankful for the companionship of your dogs, but now it is time for you to learn how to keep your dog safe during this time of thanks. Read through our tips and tricks to keep your dog safe, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

1. No Candles!

Although it is more likely for a cat to be injured by candle then a dog (since cats are much more attracted to the flickering flame then dogs are), if a candle is on a low table or in an area that your dog can reach, they can still accidentally knock it over and start a fire. Or, a long, furry, wagging tail could come in contact with the flame causing your pet to burn themselves. Unless your dog is locked up tight in another area of the house, do not have real candles lit in your home. Instead opt for LED candles- they are very realistic, and not dangerous like a real flame can be. If you must have real candles, keep them high up where your dog cannot come in contact with it.

2. Avoid Table Scraps

As much as we would love to give our dog some stuffing, turkey skin, or other tasty Thanksgiving treats, certain human foods are extremely toxic to dogs and should be avoided no matter what. Below are some of the most toxic foods that should be avoided:
• Chocolate the most well-known canine toxin, chocolate can cause intestinal upset, heart palpitation, seizures, and even death if large quantities are consumed. Any type of chocolate is toxic, however some chocolates are worse than others; white and milk chocolate may only cause intestinal upset, while dark chocolate and baking chocolate can cause more severe symptoms.
• Bread Dough According to the ASPCA, when raw bread dough is ingested by our pets, their body heat causes the dough to rise and expand in their stomach. This can then cause vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, resulting in life-threatening illness that will need emergency surgery.
• Fatty Foods Any amount of rich, fatty, or unfamiliar foods (such as meat fat, skins, and gravies) can cause intestinal issues; large quantities can cause a condition called pancreatitis, a medical condition that can be very painful and life-threatening if left untreated.
• Bones can cut or obstruct your dog’s internal organs. When cooked, they can also splinter and become stuck in the dog’s throat or further down its digestive tract.
• Onions: Onions and onion powder will attack your dog’s red blood cells, causing your cat to develop anemia.
• Grapes and Raisins contain a toxin that causes kidney failure in dogs.

3. Feed your Dog a Special Thanksgiving Meal

As previously mentioned, traditional Thanksgiving meals are loaded with ingredients that can make dog very ill. If you want your dog to join in the celebration, prepare their own turkey dinner ahead of time with a slice or two of skinless turkey breast and a small spoonful of canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling, as this already has all the spices in it for pumpkin pie and can be harmful).

4. Keep the Garbage in the Can!

Dogs are highly skilled at finding enticing foods, whether it is on the counters, tables, or in the trash can. Take when disposing of leftover foods and packaging; it is best to double-bag them and put it straight into your outside trash can, ensuring your dog won’t knock over the one outside when you are not looking.
On top of food, items such as aluminum foil, wax paper, plastic wrap, tooth picks, skewers, used silverware, and strings that have been in contact with meat or other foods. Your dog won’t know this shouldn’t be eaten because it smells like food, and once ingested these items can cause damage or intestinal blockages.

5. Give Your Dog Extra Love

When you have a crowd at your home, your dog may feel neglected- particularly if your dog is very attached to you. If you can, try to set aside 10-15 minutes to spend some quality time with your dog before and during your party. Your dog will be more relaxed after getting some much needed attention from you, and you can enjoy your friends and family without feeling guilty for neglecting your dog.

6. Give your Dog a Safe Place

While some dogs thoroughly enjoy visitors, many do not, and may try to get as far away from new people as possible. For those dogs, it would be best to confine them while you have guests in your home. Be sure to provide fresh water, toys and bedding for your dog. Make sure all windows are secure, but keep the blinds and curtains open so they can see outside. You can also set up a stereo and play soothing music, or keep the television on low volume.  You may even consider taking your dog to doggy daycare or boardingthem while you have guests.

7. For the Extra Stressed Dog

An overly-nervous dog may need to have a little help calming down and feeling at ease with other people roaming around their home. Many dogs are able to calm down with the help of natural remedies; however some dogs need a light sedative. If you think your dog may need something to “take the edge off” while there are guests at your home, please call your veterinarian for assistance.

I hope these tips will help you and your dogs have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!