Thanksgiving Safety for Dogs | Your Essential Guide to Protecting Your Best Pal

By: Danielle Harris

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Fall nutrition for dogs Thanksgiving safety for dogs

Picture this: Thanksgiving Day, the aroma of roasted turkey fills your home, and everyone is ready for a festive feast. But wait! Your furry friend looks up at you with those irresistible eyes. It’s easy to forget that what’s tasty for us might not be safe for them.

Each year, the pet poison helpline experiences a surge in calls during holidays like Thanksgiving – a stark reminder of the potential hazards our feasts pose to our dogs.

As pet owners, it’s paramount we ensure their safety amidst the joyous chaos. Let’s delve into the importance of Thanksgiving safety for dogs and how we can make this holiday enjoyable for every family member.

Guidelines for Responsible Dog Ownership

Thanksgiving is a time of joy, but it can also be a stressful period for our furry friends. Here’s how you can make it safer and more enjoyable for them.

Regular Exercise and Diet Control

Your dog needs their daily walk, even on Thanksgiving Day. It’s like us humans needing our morning coffee to kick-start the day. Regular exercise keeps your pooch healthy and helps control their weight.

Remember, those tasty Thanksgiving treats are not always suitable for dogs. Some ingredients might even be harmful! So, keep an eye on what they’re munching on.

  • Pro tip: Make a list of dog-friendly ingredients before the holiday season begins.

Importance of Regular Vet Check-Ups

Just like we need regular health check-ups, so do our dogs. A routine visit to the vet can help spot signs of any potential health issues early on, making treatment more effective.

Training Dogs to Behave Around Guests

Having guests over during Thanksgiving? Your furry friend needs to know how to behave around them. Proper training ensures that your dog doesn’t become overly excited or anxious with all the new faces around.

  • Case study: According to a study by PetSafe, 67% of dog owners reported improved behavior in their pets after consistent training!

Ensuring Your Dog is Microchipped and Tagged

This might seem unrelated but trust me, it’s crucial during busy times like Thanksgiving when doors are often left open. Having your dog microchipped and tagged increases the chances of finding them if they wander off.

  • Stat alert: The American Humane Association estimates that over 10 million pets get lost each year; however, microchipping increases return-to-owner rates by over 50%.

Essential Tips for Home Safety

Thanksgiving is a time of joy and feasting, but it can also pose some risks to our furry friends. Let’s talk about some safety tips to keep your dogs safe at home during this festive season.

Keep Harmful Foods Out of Reach

It’s no secret that dogs love food. But not all Thanksgiving goodies are good for them. Some foods like chocolate, onions, grapes, and raisins can be harmful to dogs.

  • Chocolate contains theobromine which is toxic to dogs.
  • Onions cause damage to red blood cells in dogs.
  • Grapes and raisins can lead to kidney failure in dogs.

So, it’s a good idea to keep these foods out of their reach. Make sure you inform your guests as well so they don’t accidentally share their treats with your pet.

Secure Your Trash Bins

Dogs are natural scavengers. They might take advantage of the overflowing trash bins during Thanksgiving. This could expose them to harmful substances or choking hazards.

Securing your trash bins is an easy fix here. You could use a dog-proof bin or place the bin in a locked cabinet.

Create a Safe Space for Your Dog

With all the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving, your dog might feel overwhelmed. It’s best to create a safe space or room where they can retreat from the crowd if needed.

Make sure this area has their favorite toys and bedding so they feel comfortable there.

Avoid Open Flames and Hot Surfaces Near Pets

Thanksgiving cooking means hot surfaces everywhere – stoves, ovens, candles, etc. These can be dangerous for curious pets who might end up getting burned.

Keep an eye on your pets when these are around or better yet, keep them away from these areas altogether during cooking times.

Avoiding Decoration Dangers for Dogs

Thanksgiving is a time of joy and celebration, but it can also be a hazardous time for our furry friends. Here’s how to keep your dogs safe from the potential dangers that lurk in your festive decorations.

Watch Out for Decorative Plants

Decorations are part and parcel of Thanksgiving festivities. But some decorative plants, like poinsettias and mistletoe, pose serious risks to dogs.

  • Poinsettias: While not deadly, these can cause upset stomachs if ingested by your pup.
  • Mistletoe: This plant is more toxic than poinsettias. If eaten, it can cause severe gastrointestinal upset and even heart problems.

So, it’s best to keep these plants out of reach or opt for artificial ones instead.

Ornaments Tinsel and Lights

Ornaments, tinsel, and lights might look pretty on the tree but they’re hazards waiting to happen when you’ve got a curious dog around.

  • Ornaments: These shiny objects can attract dogs. If broken or chewed on, they could lead to injuries.
  • Tinsel: It’s shiny and moves easily which can catch a dog’s attention. If swallowed it could lead to intestinal blockage.
  • Lights: Dogs may get tangled in them or even receive electric shocks from chewing cords.

Keep these items high up on the tree where your dog can’t reach them.

Be Cautious with Candles

Candles add that warm glow to our homes during Thanksgiving but leaving them within a dog’s reach or unsupervised areas is asking for trouble.

Dogs might accidentally knock them over causing fires or burn themselves out of curiosity. Consider using flameless candles as an alternative safety measure.

Beware of Small Decorations

Small decorations are potential choking hazards for dogs. Anything small enough for them to swallow should be kept well out of their reach.

  • Decorative corn: It’s small, colorful and can be swallowed easily.
  • Small figurines: These can also be mistaken for toys by your dog and swallowed.

Remember, it’s not just about keeping these items away from your dogs. It’s also about educating guests and kids in the house to do the same.

Guest Management and Dog Safety

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and feasting. But, amidst all the fun and food, we should remember our furry friends too.

Inform Guests About Your Dog’s Rules

Lay down the law before your guests arrive. It’s not being bossy, it’s about keeping your doggo safe. You know how some people can’t resist those puppy eyes? Well, they might sneak a piece of pie or two to your pup. Make sure everyone knows what’s up with your dog’s diet.

For example:

  • No human food for Fido.
  • Keep doors closed to avoid any escape attempts.

Don’t Let Guests Feed Your Dog

This ain’t just about overfeeding or unhealthy snacks. Some Thanksgiving foods can be downright dangerous for dogs! So remind your visitors that while sharing is caring, it doesn’t apply.

Here are some no-no foods:

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes/raisins
  • Onions/garlic
  • Alcohol

Responsible Kids-Pet Interaction

Kids love pets and vice versa. But sometimes the excitement can get out of hand. Ensure children interact with your pet responsibly by setting clear boundaries.

Some rules could be:

  1. No pulling tails or ears.
  2. Always approach the pet slowly.
  3. Don’t bother the pet while he’s eating or sleeping.

Monitor Your Pet For Stress Signs

A house full of people can stress out even the chillest of dogs. Watch out for signs like excessive panting, pacing, or hiding away from all the noise.

If you notice these signs:

  1. Give them a quiet space away from all the hustle-bustle.
  2. Try calming techniques like gentle stroking or soft music.
  3. If things seem serious, don’t hesitate to contact an emergency vet.

Thanksgiving should be a time of joy for everyone, including our pets. So let’s make sure we keep it safe and stress-free for them. Remember, the best care is preventative care.

And if you’re not sure about something, don’t wing it! Reach out to your chief veterinary officer or emergency vet for guidance. They’re the real MVPs.

Safe Thanksgiving Foods for Dogs

Thanksgiving is a time of joy, but it’s also a time to ensure our furry friends’ safety. Let’s dive into how you can keep your dog safe during this festive season.

Turkey and Sweet Potatoes: A Dog’s Delight

Who doesn’t love turkey and sweet potatoes? Heck, even our dogs do! But remember, not all parts of the turkey are safe for them.

Turkey meat? Absolutely fine. Just make sure it’s well-cooked and boneless. You see, turkey bones can cause choking or damage their intestines. Try to stick to white meat as there’s less fat and more protein.

Sweet potatoes? Yes please! They’re packed with vitamins that are good for your doggo. But hold up on the butter or marshmallows – too much fat isn’t good for them.

Portion Sizes Matter

Size matters. Even if they give you those puppy eyes begging for more, resist!

A small piece of turkey or a spoonful of mashed sweet potatoes will suffice. Overfeeding can lead to upset tummies or worse – pancreatitis.

Beware Of Harmful Ingredients

Just like us humans have food allergies, some ingredients in our holiday dishes can be harmful to dogs.

Onions and garlic? Big no-no! They contain compounds that can damage your dog’s red blood cells.

Raisins? Stay away! They’ve been known to cause kidney failure in dogs.

And let’s not forget yeast dough – it can expand in their stomach causing pain and possible rupture.

Spices like Nutmeg and Cloves are also dangerous to dogs. Think twice about sharing your pumpkin or apple pie with your pet.

Pet-Friendly Treats Are The Way To Go

Instead of feeding Fido table scraps laden with fatty foods, why not opt for special pet-friendly treats?

There are plenty of options available in the market today – from dehydrated turkey strips to sweet potato chews. And trust me; they’ll love these just as much!

You can make your own dog friendly products such as: pumpkin pie, hot chocolate (carob powder)/puppuccino, pumpkin lattes and more!

Tips for Traveling with Pets

Travelling with pets can be a blast, but it’s not all fun and games. You gotta make sure your furry friends are safe and comfy during the journey.

Secure and Comfortable Pet Carriers Matter

Think about it, would you enjoy being stuffed in a tiny box for hours? Nah, didn’t think so. Your pet feels the same way. A secure carrier is crucial when travelling with pets. It keeps them safe during unexpected vehicle maneuvers, plus they won’t distract you while driving.

  • Opt for carriers that have enough room for your pet to stand, turn around, and lay down.
  • Make sure it has good ventilation.
  • For cats and exotic pets, choose carriers that open from the top. They’re easier to get in and out of.

Regular Stops Are Key

Just like us humans, animals need bathroom breaks too. Plus, sitting in one spot for too long ain’t good for anyone’s health.

  • Plan stops every 2-3 hours.
  • Let your pet stretch their legs and do their business.
  • Always leash your pet during these stops. You don’t want them bolting into traffic or getting lost.

Pack a Travel Kit

You wouldn’t leave home without packing essentials right? Same goes for your pets.


  • Food: Keep their diet consistent to avoid upsetting their digestive tract.
  • Water: Hydration is key!
  • Leash: Essential for those pit stops.
  • Waste bags: Clean up after your furry friend!

Check Accommodation Policies

Don’t assume every place welcomes pets just because you do! Some accommodations have strict no-pet policies or only allow certain types of animals.

So before hitting the road:

  1. Check if your accommodation allows pets.
  2. Read up on any specific rules or restrictions they might have (e.g., size limits).
  3. Know where nearby vets are, just in case.

Remember, travelling with pets requires a bit of extra planning. But seeing their happy faces is worth every minute of it! So whether you’re travelling by air or hitting the road, these tips will ensure your pet’s safety and comfort.

Recap on Dog Safety During Thanksgiving

So, that’s the skinny on keeping your four-legged friend safe during Thanksgiving. It’s not rocket science, but it does require a bit of planning and mindfulness. From setting ground rules for guests to knowing which table scraps are dog-friendly, every little detail counts. And remember, traveling with pets can be a piece of cake if you’re well-prepared.

As we wrap up our chat about dog safety this holiday season, let’s keep one thing in mind: our furry friends rely on us to keep them out of harm’s way. So let’s do right by them and make sure their Thanksgiving is just as enjoyable (and safe) as ours! And hey, don’t forget to share this guide with other pet parents – because sharing is caring!


What foods at Thanksgiving are safe for dogs?

Most cooked vegetables like carrots or green beans are safe for dogs. Plain turkey meat without any seasoning or gravy is also okay in moderation.

Can I leave my dog alone with decorations?

No, some decorations can be harmful if ingested or can cause injuries. Always supervise your dog around decorations.

How should I handle guests who want to feed my dog?

Politely explain that certain foods can be harmful to dogs and provide a list of safe treats they can give instead.

Is it okay to travel with my dog during Thanksgiving?

Yes, as long as you prepare properly. Make sure your pet is comfortable with travel and bring all necessary supplies including food, water, and bedding.

What should I do if my dog eats something harmful during Thanksgiving?

Contact your vet immediately if you suspect your dog has eaten something harmful. They may need immediate medical attention.

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