When your holiday celebrations go awry, you are most thankful that an emergency veterinarian is available to care for your pet. Our Creature Comforts Veterinary Service team is here around the clock on weekends and holidays, although we hope you and your furry pal can celebrate safely at home rather than visiting our emergency department. So, we present four ways to prevent your pet from needing Thanksgiving emergency care.

#1: Choose pet-friendly decorations

To decorate your home for Thanksgiving celebrations, you can choose from a wide array of popular decorative items. However, some of the most common are dangerous for pets. When you spruce up your home for the festivities, avoid the following potential hazards:

  • Toxic plants — While the more toxic plants are popular for Easter and Christmas, a few hazardous plants are often purchased for Thanksgiving. When brightening up your home with seasonal blooms, avoid chrysanthemums and autumn crocus, which are toxic to pets, and decorate with safe choices such as pansies and asters.
  • Choking hazards — Multicolored corncobs, cornstalks, and seasonal squash are often used for door displays, and many four-legged friends cannot resist nabbing a bite. However, these items are all choking hazards if ingested by your pet, or they can lodge in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and require surgical removal. When decorating with harvest items, ensure your pet cannot reach your display.
  • Fire hazards — Lit candles and wax warmers that fill the air with a pumpkin spice or apple cider scent are popular in the fall, but inquisitive pets may venture too close and scorch their whiskers, nose, or paws, spill hot wax, or knock over a lit candle, with disastrous consequences. Opt for battery-operated candles and use your pie-baking aromas to keep your pet safe.

#2: Keep your pet out of the kitchen

Too many cooks in the kitchen can lead to disaster, especially when one cook has an endless appetite and a nose for treats. Your eager pet will likely take advantage when you are distracted trying to follow your grandmother’s measurement-lacking recipe and get into a heap of trouble. Bubbling pots, pans fresh from the oven, and still-hot stove burners can seriously injure your pet who is searching for a snack. Pets can also knock knives off the counter, accidentally shatter glass dishes, or sample toxic ingredients. To ensure your pet stays safe while you’re cooking, block them from the kitchen with a baby gate and keep them occupied with a long-lasting treat.

#3: Avoid sharing toxic and hazardous foods with your pet

While turning down your pet’s begging gaze on Thanksgiving may seem cruel, subjecting them to a life-threatening case of pancreatitis, food toxicity, or GI obstruction is much more cruel. Fill a plate with tasty tidbits for your pet, but avoid the following dangerous foods:

  • Turkey skin and bones — Turkey skin and bones, along with the fatty dark meat, can seriously threaten your pet. Seasonings, high fat content, and sharp bones can lead to toxicity, pancreatitis, or an obstruction that may result in intestinal perforation. 
  • High-fat foods — Buttery mashed potatoes, gravy, and all manner of rich side dishes and casseroles are generally loaded with fat, which can trigger vomiting and diarrhea, or pancreatitis.
  • Corncobs — While salt- and butter-free corn kernels are perfectly fine for your pet to eat, corncobs are a different matter. Fibrous cobs can easily cause choking or become an obstruction, so refrain from giving them to your pet.
  • Garlic, onions, and chives — These tasty ingredients are found in many dishes, but they can destroy your pet’s red blood cells and cause anemia.
  • Raisins and currants — These dried fruits can be found in stuffing, desserts, and more adventurous dishes, but they can cause kidney failure in pets.
  • Desserts — Chocolate and xylitol, which are commonly found on the dessert table, whether in pies, cookies, or cakes, are dangerous for pets, so do not share any sweet treats with your pet to prevent heart problems, hypoglycemia, and liver failure.

#4: Secure your trash can

Amid all the holiday celebration commotion, the trash can may be the last thing on your mind, but likely will be your pet’s first stop when you’re entertaining guests, watching the big game, or taking a tryptophan-induced nap. Stay on top of taking out the trash before the can is overloaded with all sorts of appealing, yet hazardous, morsels to your pet. Grease-coated aluminum foil, turkey brine and bones, scraps from onions and garlic, and various wrappers and inedible items can lead to toxicity, stomach upset, pancreatitis, choking, or a GI obstruction. If possible, stick the trash can behind a closed door and shut the lid securely each time.

If your furry pal runs afoul of a turkey-related Thanksgiving disaster, our Creature Comforts Veterinary Service team is here to help. Our emergency services are available to provide urgent veterinary care any time, day or night. So, give us a call if your pet needs a helping hand.