Talking Turkey About Thanksgiving Safety
Thanksgiving is one of America’s favorite holidays, and with the tempting smells of food cooking for hours, pets may get excited about it too. But not all the foods we humans eat can be tolerated by our pets, and the holiday poses other hazards for them as well. To keep your pet safe, be aware of the things that can go wrong and follow these suggestions.
A pet who knows how to behave in the kitchen on a normal day may be overcome by all kinds of temptations on Thanksgiving. Adding to the excitement may be more people in your kitchen than usual, and more distractions. This can be a recipe for several kinds of problems.
Avoid taking a spill. Busy, preoccupied cooks can trip over pets, spilling hot liquids, dropping heavy cookware, breaking dishes, and falling on easily broken bones. Consider keeping your pet out of the kitchen with a safety gate.
Counter that ability to jump. If your pet can reach the counter, keep her out of the kitchen unless you can keep a vigilant eye on her. This can be especially dangerous for cats who can jump up and stroll on the counter. A trip to answer the phone or the door can provide her with the opportunity to singe her tail on the stove burners or burn herself with hot food items or pots on the counter.
Don't string her along. Another special threat for cats is the string that wraps around the turkey’s legs. Busy cooks trying to get dinner on the table may untruss the bird and leave the string where it can be found by kitty while the turkey is being placed on a cutting board or serving platter. Your cat may also be attracted to the plastic the turkey was wrapped in. Either of these items can create an obstruction and require emergency surgery.
Make no bones about it. Bones can cause internal punctures, tears, and obstruction, but an open kitchen trash can or even a sealed trash bag can be irresistible to a pet when fragrant turkey bones are inside. Take care to dispose of turkey scraps and bones responsibly. Take them to your garbage pail outside, and make sure the lid is secured.
Off the menu
Humans may overindulge a bit on Thanksgiving, but an after-dinner walk or a nap usually restores us. Not so for our furry friends. The rich, fatty foods that are often served on Thanksgiving can be dangerous for them. And that's just the beginning of the problems that certain “people foods” can cause.
Fat. Very fatty foods and trimmings can cause pancreatitis.If you want to share your table’s bounty, give your pet a small amount of turkey and vegetables. Make sure the turkey is properly cooked. Pets are not immune to eColi and Salmonella!
Stuffing. Ingredients in this Thanksgiving favorite like onions, garlic, or chives can cause gastrointestinal problems. Sage and other herbs contain oils and resins that can cause problems for the gastrointestinal and central nervous systems, particularly in cats.
Yeast dough. If you buy refrigerated rolls, keep the raw dough out of reach. If eaten, it will expand in your pet’s stomach and could become a life-threatening emergency.
Baking ingredients. Baking powder and baking soda are both highly toxic. So are nutmeg and other spices used in food at Thanksgiving time. Wipe up spills promptly and keep lids and boxes closed tightly.Keep raisins (and grapes) out of reach. These can case kidney failure.
Avocados. Keep your dog away from salads that contain avocados. They contain Persin which is toxic to animals and can cause stomach upset and vomiting.
Nuts and candies. Keep candy off the coffee table or any other place that can be reached by your pet. Chocolate is a no-no, but so is anything that contains xylitol, a sweetener that can cause seizures, low blood sugar, liver failure and death in dogs. Macadamia nuts are another popular offering during the holidays which can be fatal to dogs.
Alcohol. Beverages and foods containing alchohol can be fatal.
Thanksgiving is often the first time the fireplace is used for the winter. Make sure curious but unsuspecting pets are kept away from sparks and flames. Candles are another source of burns for curious kitties or enthusiastic tail waggers. Keep these out of reach and never leave candles burning unattended.
If guests bring flowers or you have centerpieces with flowers and berries that are common in November, keep them out of reach of your pets. Lilies in all varieties are toxic to cats, and many other plants are dangerous for both dogs and cats.
Liquid room scents with diffuser reeds are very popular around the holidays, but they can be highly caustic to the gums or throat. Keep your curious kitty away from these “playthings.”
A few simple precautions can make a world of difference in keeping your pet safe. And safe, healthy pets are something to be thankful for!