How to Keep Pets Safe During the Thanksgiving Holiday

Dear Owner: Please keep me safe this Thanksgiving holiday. Love, the Dog
Dear Owner: Please keep me safe this Thanksgiving holiday. Love, the Dog

Thanksgiving is a time of joy and celebration, but this and other holidays can pose dangers to your cats, dogs and other pets! Conversely, your guests may also be at risk of injury during a holiday gathering in the home. Today, we’ll explore the various dangers associated with Thanksgiving and how to avoid injury, loss or worse.

Lost Pets and the Thanksgiving Holiday

Many pets get lost during the holidays, so it’s important to take precautions to prevent your pet from escaping. An open door is an opportunity for escape, and the owner may be distracted as he or she greets the guests. It only takes a moment for a dog or cat to slip out the door.

What’s more, the guests, holiday cooking and alcohol consumption can serve as a distraction, so you may not even realize your pet is missing until hours after the fact.

Visitor and Pet Safety

The holiday season is prime time for dog bites, cat bites and other injuries. Animals thrive on routine and stability, so the scheduling differences and holiday visitors can be extremely stressful to your dog, cat, bird and other pets.

Furthermore, many guests may not be well-versed on how to properly interact with the pet. This can lead to dog bites, scratches or worse. Children are particularly at risk of sustaining an injury from a pet and vice versa. The child may accidentally injure the pet, or the youngster may provoke the pet, resulting in a bite, scratch or other injury. It only takes a moment for a serious injury to occur.

Frightened or stressed out pets are at extremely high risk of lashing out in an aggressive manner. But even friendly pets are at risk. The pet may get under foot, leading to an injured animal and/or guest. Or a dog may attempt to play with a guest, leading to an accidental injury.

Thanksgiving Foods and Pet Safety

There are many items that can prove toxic to a dog or cat during the Thanksgiving holiday. Poultry bones can cause an intestinal obstruction or even a potentially deadly tear in the intestinal tract. Foods that are high in fat can cause the dog to develop pancreatitis. Onions, such as those found on a green bean casserole, can cause a deadly form of anemia in dogs. Unfamiliar foods can result in vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and general discomfort.

Your guests’ jackets and purses also pose a danger to cats and dogs. Gum and candy often contains xylitol, which is toxic to pets. So if your dog or cat invades a coat pocket or purse, he or she may die after ingesting xylitol. What’s worse, you may not even realize that your dog or cat has been poisoned, and this can result in delayed or ineffective treatment.

Furthermore, some dogs get aggressive over food, so the combination of guests, food and pets dramatically increases the chances of a dog bite.

How to Keep Pets Safe During the Holidays

The key to keeping your pets safe during the holidays: keep them away from the festivities or ask a family member to supervise the pet at all times.

Keep your pet kenneled during the holiday celebration or place the pet in a spare bedroom or another location that’s off-limits to guests. Secure the pets before your guests arrive to ensure a happy and safe holiday for your guests and all of your furry or feathered friends.

For more pet care tips, visit PetLvr’s archives!

Photo Source: Colin Hughes at

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Mia Carter is a professional journalist and animal lover. Her furry family members include 6 dogs and 12 cats. She is also a feral cat colony caretaker. Carter specializes in pet training and special needs pet care. All of her animals have special needs such as paralysis, blindness, deafness and FIV, just to name a few. She also serves as a pet foster parent and she actively rehabilitates and rescues local strays and feral kittens.

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