It’s that time of year again! Time to fire up the oven and get to eating some Thanksgiving turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, maybe a winter soup, and, of course, pumpkin pie! Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends, but it’s important not to forget your four-legged family members in all the excitement. Thanksgiving presents numerous safety hazards to cats and dogs – all it takes is turning your back for a second and catastrophe can strike. Check out our tips below to make sure that your furry friends have a happy Thanksgiving.
Pet safety in the kitchen:
1. Keep an eye on the turkey/food.
Meat is often irresistible to pets. No matter how they beg, do not let them eat any turkey bones or raw meat – raw poultry can cause salmonella poisoning in cats and dogs. If you’re going to give your pet a taste of some turkey, only give them small portions and only turkey that is fully cooked – and with no bones.
2. Make sure to keep the scraps away from your pets.
The turkey carcass is all-too-tempting, and you don’t want your buddy to eat any turkey bones, which could injure your pet. Don’t leave the turkey trash where your cat or dog can get to it – pets are extremely enterprising and extremely determined. Remove the turkey leavings ASAP.
When you go to dispose of the turkey skeleton, put the trash bag somewhere your pet won’t be able to get to it. Don’t underestimate your pet’s determination to get to something they think will be delicious – protecting your pet is a bit like childproofing your home.
3. Keep the pets out of the kitchen.
If you’ve got a creative and athletic pet who can get into EVERYTHING while you’re trying to cook, put them in another room. You can ask a guest to keep an eye on them so they don’t feel too left out! But it’s probably for the best not to have little paws rushing around underfoot while you’re juggling dishes, pots, pans, and so on.
4. Keep your cat or dog away from the holiday foods.
There are a lot of holiday-related foods and treats that are not good for pets. Alcohol, coffee, chocolate, onions … all of these things are not good for your furry friends. (Even though they might try to eat them.) Oh, and yeast dough can also be problematic.
Anyways – remind your guests not to feed the pets. Yes, they might be adorable and yes, they might beg, but it’s really important that your pets aren’t eating people food.
5. Have a stash of treats.
If you want to treat your pet, hit the pet store and choose some treats that are meant for them. That way they can partake in the Thanksgiving festivities and you don’t have to worry about them eating something they shouldn’t. (Treats are, of course, a great way to reward your pet for being a good boy or girl.)
6. Don’t waste any time if you think your cat or dog has been poisoned or eaten something they shouldn’t have.
If you think your pet has gotten into something they should not have eaten, call your vet’s office immediately. Have their number programmed into your phone so you can quickly and easily find it if necessary. The ASPCA also has a hotline you can call, too, so you might want to plug that number in as well.
If you’re having guests:
7. Provide your pet with a safe place.
Plenty of cats and dogs get anxious when new, unfamiliar people come over. If your cat or dog is one of those and tends to get nervous or scared when there are a lot of loud, frightening humans around, set aside a quiet room for them. Fix it up with everything they’ll need. Basically, you’re turning this designated room into a cat or dog haven. It should be a room away from all the hustle and bustle where your pet can stay calm and take a nap.
8. Be mindful of potential great escapes.
When you have guests coming and going, the door is opening and closing a lot. Keep an eye on your cat or dog – it’s amazing how superb their ninja skills are and how adeptly they can sneak past people to get outside. Make sure your four-legged companions stay safe and sound inside where they belong. Ask your guests to please be mindful of them, too, and to watch for them when they come in and leave.
9. Make sure your buddy has an ID tag.
Keep your pet’s collar on and make sure they have a tag with your current contact information on it. You can also talk to your vet about microchipping your pet to maximize the chance of them being returned to you if they get lost if they do manage a Houdini-esque great escape.
10. Watch your decorations.
Some flowers and plants are toxic to cats and dogs. If you choose to use plants to decorate your home for the holidays, choose plants that aren’t toxic to pets. You have to be really cautious any time you bring new plants into the house. Cats and dogs, for some reason, occasionally think these are for eating.
11. Skip the candles.
Another thing to be wary of with your decorations is candles. Don’t leave your cat or dog alone with a lit candle. They could hurt themselves or knock it over and burn the house down. Since you probably don’t want to have to file a fire claim on your home insurance, either skip the candles or watch your pets very carefully.
12. Supervise your pets around kids.
If your pets are going to be roaming around with your guests, make sure to keep an eye on them. Kids may not understand how to approach or pet your cat or dog properly, so make sure everyone is happy if your pet is getting attention from your younger guests. You don’t want anyone to get snapped at (and, side note, certain dog breeds have an impact on your home insurance rate for that very reason.)
The holidays – and turkey day – are meant to be a special time for everyone in your family. Don’t forget to be mindful of your pets even during the hullaballoo that comes along with preparing Thanksgiving dinner and hosting guests. Take care of your four-legged buddies.
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