’Tis the season for food, fun, football, and family. The holiday season has arrived, and the kitchen is heating up inside as the temperatures drop outside. It can be challenging for many people and pets to resist the delicious smells as families prepare for the largest meal of the year. Pet owners naturally want to include their four-legged family members in the festivities, but many Thanksgiving foods, decor, and activities can be dangerous for your pet. Our Adamson Veterinary Services team wants to ensure your pet remains safe this Thanksgiving, so gobble up these five pet safety tips.

#1: Keep kitchen counters clear of surfing pets

Sticky fingers and counter-surfing paws can be hard to avoid in the days leading up to the Thanksgiving meal. However, hot burners and sharp knives can lead to pet injuries and an unplanned trip to the veterinary emergency hospital. Additionally, curious pets who may want to sample the uncooked meat are at risk for salmonella, which can cause gastrointestinal (GI) distress, infection, or pancreatitis. Designating the kitchen off-limits to pets will prevent any accidental toxin ingestions or injuries. 

#2: Ask guests not to feed your pet table scraps

Pets are expert manipulators when it comes to showing off their longing eyes and begging skills. Your houseguests may have difficulty resisting your pet’s drooling gaze, but many popular Thanksgiving foods, ingredients, and dishes are dangerous to your four-legged family member. When friends and family arrive, ask them to refrain from sharing their plate with your pet. Many pets will wait patiently for dropped food or an unoccupied dish, so ensure they do not have access to any of the following pet-toxic foods or ingredients:

  • Spices and herbs
  • Onions, garlic, leeks, and chives 
  • Raisins or grapes 
  • Unbaked dough 
  • Chocolate 
  • Sugar-free treats
  • Alcohol 

#3: Supervise your pet at all times

If your home has a revolving door of guests and family, your pet may take advantage of the activity and go on an unplanned adventure to the neighbor’s home. Keeping track of your pet during festive gatherings can be challenging, but ensure they are supervised at all times to prevent them from escaping or getting into trouble. Still, your pet may get loose despite your best efforts, so bring them in for a pre-holiday examination with our Adamson Veterinary Services veterinarian to ensure their microchip is functioning properly and their vaccinations and medications are current. Additionally, ensure your pet is wearing a properly fitting collar with identification at all times. 

Holiday decor, like scented candles, can lead to singed whiskers or burned paws. Ensure that all candles are out of paw’s reach, and never leave pets unsupervised in rooms with lighted candles. Many scented candles, potpourri, and votives also contain essential oils, which are toxic to pets, especially cats, puppies, or dogs with liver disease. 

#4: Exercise your pet before the party

Houseguests and varying schedules can put your pet’s daily routine at risk. Sudden changes in their schedule can cause anxiety and lead to behavioral outbursts. In the days leading up to your Thanksgiving gathering, ensure that your pet’s routine remains consistent, including mealtime and playtime schedules. Additionally, exercise your pet before gatherings to help them burn off excess energy and provide them with a special treat or toy to exercise their mind, like a puzzle toy, to help keep them occupied and out of trouble during the festivities. 

#5: Plan ahead for pet travel

Many families fly or drive long distances to spend the holidays with family and friends. If you plan to travel with your pet, ensure you are prepared in advance with the appropriate paperwork and supplies, which may include:

  • Health certificate — Most airlines require paperwork to ensure your pet is healthy enough to fly. Call your airline to see if your pet needs this document and your veterinarian to schedule a pre-travel examination. 
  • Medications — Like people, some pets experience motion sickness or anxiety during car rides or air travel. Our Adamson Veterinary Services veterinarian may recommend medication to ensure your pet is comfortable during their journey. Additionally, ensure you have enough medication for the return leg of your trip. 
  • Medical history  — Accidents or pet emergencies can happen at any time, so bring copies of your pet’s medical history with you when traveling. If your pet will be staying behind with a pet sitter or family member, ensure that person has easy access to your pet’s history and veterinary contact information. 
  • Travel crate  — A crate is the safest way to transport your pet. However, crate training takes time and patience. Ensure your pet is familiar and comfortable with their crate before placing them in it for travel.  

Our Adamson Veterinary Services team wishes you and your family a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Call our office if your pet gets into too much Thanksgiving cheer, or to schedule them for a pre-holiday examination.