When you’re bustling around in the kitchen on Thanksgiving, it can be hard to resist the temptation to give your pet turkey meat, a few scraps of turkey skin or two or three of the green beans that inevitably drop to the floor. It feels good to share the holiday feast with furry friends, but your pet’s digestive tract may not be up to handling the same dishes humans can manage. This Thanksgiving holiday, keep your furry family members in good health by following these Thanksgiving safety tips for dogs.


5 Important Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Dogs

Keep Food on the Table, Not Under It

One of the most important things pet owners can do to keep pets safe is to keep Thanksgiving dishes on the table, not under it. Of course, it’s hard for pet parents to say no to dropping delicious dinner rolls or the occasional sliver of pumpkin pie for furry family members under the table. But leaving these yummy scraps within a pet’s easy reach can be dangerous or even life-threatening.

The problem here is that a dog’s stomach has trouble with many of the fatty foods humans eat at Thanksgiving, especially fatty dark meat and unbaked yeast dough. Many dogs will snap these treats up when you offer them, but a few hours later they can cause painful gas and bloating, which may become an emergency vet visit later on. 

Toxic Foods to Avoid

Some Thanksgiving foods are especially dangerous for dogs because they’re nutritionally bad or they’re a choking hazard. Foods in the first category include anything containing artificial sweeteners or other artificial ingredients, such as spiced pie filling or canned sweet potato. Anything containing alcohol is bad for dogs, as they’re especially prone to alcohol poisoning even in small doses. Chocolate, which turns up in many Thanksgiving dishes, is unhealthy for dogs. Call your veterinarian immediately if your pet has gotten into any of these foods. If you’re not sure whether the food your dog just got into is safe, you can call the ASPCA pet poison helpline at (888) 426-4435.

Issues With Choking

Aside from the poisoning risks, some foods are also choking hazards for dogs. Baby carrots aren’t chemically bad for a dog’s digestive system, but their small size encourages gulping, and they’re about the right size to block a windpipe. Dogs are remarkably good at finding things like this, and they’ll get into the trash can, turned-off oven or candy dish to get a bite after spending the whole day smelling the food cooking in the kitchen. To help keep these things out of your pet’s reach, leave dogs outside while food is left out in pet-occupied places. Carry leftover bones out to an outdoor trash can, preferably one with a locked door or a lid that can’t be easily forced open.

Non-Food Thanksgiving Dog Safety Tips

While food is probably the first thing most people think of about Thanksgiving, there’s more in your house that can cause problems. Festive decorations, especially glass ornaments and decorative plants, also have to be kept out of reach and carefully monitored to make sure your dog doesn’t get to them. Pet-safe non-food items you can leave out include soft items too big to be swallowed and familiar items a curious dog might not be too tempted to bolt down, such as a favorite toy or other objects your dog is already used to playing with.

Make Some Pet-Friendly Thanksgiving Treats

Even with all the risks, it’s still almost impossible to refuse your dog any treats at all. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can safely share with them that they’ll love almost as much as dangerous sweets or toxic poinsettia plants. Briefly, your pet-friendly food options include:

  • Unseasoned white meat
  • Raw fruits that aren’t a choking hazard
  • Special holiday treats formulated for dogs and intended just for them

As careful as you are in trying to plan a safe and happy holiday, an untrained dog can still surprise you with its inventiveness in getting into trouble. That’s why real holiday safety for your dogs begins with proper training. The Dog Wizard has 36 locations and offers excellent obedience dog training, including food discipline, that could save your family an emergency veterinary clinic trip this year and help you have a happy holiday with your well-behaved family pet. Call (877) 585-9727 to learn more about our dog training for owners and find out how we can help you with the safety of your dogs.