Most of the Thanksgiving holiday revolves around food, but company, brisk outings, and gorgeous fall decor are also season highlights. Since the feast is the “main dish” of the holiday, your furry friend is most at risk for food-related dangers, although they can also fall victim to assorted common holiday hazards during Thanksgiving. By following our list of holiday do’s and don’ts, you can keep your four-legged pal happy and safe this Thanksgiving.

Do: Do feed your pet some turkey—with a caveat

While you may not want to share the prize dish of your Thanksgiving feast, a small amount of turkey is actually safe for your pet. Lean proteins, like fish, chicken, and turkey, are alright in moderation. However, ensure the turkey you share with your pet is boneless, skinless white meat, free from seasonings and gravy. The high fat content in the skin and gravy can cause gastrointestinal upset and irritate the pancreas, while some seasonings and spices can be toxic.

Don’t: No bones about it for pets

Although your pet may be begging you to toss the turkey leg their way, resist them. Bones, especially cooked bones, can splinter and pierce your pet’s gastrointestinal tract, or become lodged and cause a blockage that requires emergency surgical removal. Instead of a bone, give your pet a healthy dental chew, or stuff a rubber Kong with peanut butter, spray cheese, or low-fat yogurt.

Do: Eat your veggies—pets, too

Fresh vegetables offer your pet a fun crunch, plus plenty of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. If you’re looking to add some color to your pet’s plate, opt for carrots, broccoli, green beans, bell peppers, or zucchini. These veggies are best served fresh or steamed, without any spices or seasonings.

Don’t: But, forget onions, garlics, chives, leeks, and scallions for pets

When adding veggies to your pet’s meal, skip items from the allium family. Onions, garlic, chives, leeks, and scallions can be toxic to your furry pal, and can destroy your pet’s red blood cells, causing anemia.

Do: Fresh fruit can also be good for pets

Fresh fruits offer a healthy sweet treat for your pet, provided you share only a small amount. Like veggies, the more colorful the fruit, the greater the health and antioxidant benefits. Berries make an excellent nutrient-rich snack, while apples, bananas, melons, and peaches are also safe for your pet.

Don’t: But grapes, raisins, and currants are not good for pets

You must avoid sharing grapes, raisins, and currants, whether they’re fresh or part of a side dish, with your pet. These fruits can lead to kidney failure through an unknown cause, and only a small handful can be fatal.

Do: Treat your pet to some pumpkin

Pumpkin purèe is a delicious, nutritious treat for your pet, and is also great for their digestive health. A tablespoon or two of this snack is perfect for rounding out your pet’s Thanksgiving meal.

Don’t: But, do not let pets eat pie

Although fresh fruits like apples, cherries, and pumpkinsyes, pumpkins are a fruit!are a great treat for your pet, their pie-filling counterparts are not. Stick to plain fresh or canned fruits, and skip sharing the sugared and spiced pie filling for your pet.

Do: Provide pets with a quiet spot to nap on a full stomach

Whether your pet is more of a social butterfly or a hermit crab, provide a quiet haven where they can retreat, should the festivities become too much. Ask your visitors to leave your pet alone if they’re tucked away in a bedroom, to give them space to relax away from the commotion.

Don’t: Force your pet to gad about with visitors

Although you may want to show off your adorable pet to friends and family, do not force your furry pal to interact with your guests. Instead, allow your pet to decide if they want to meet-and-greet around the room, and don’t force the issue if they’d rather stick close to your side.

Do: Protect your pet from pesky pests year-round

The brisk fall weather that puts an extra spring in your step is the perfect time to head outdoors and enjoy the season with your four-legged friend. However, fall is also prime tick season, so protect your pet with a year-round parasite prevention program. 

Don’t: The weather outside may be chilly, but don’t skip your pet’s parasite preventive

While you may be tempted to skip a dose or two of parasite preventive when the weather becomes chilly, don’t miss a single dose. Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes are opportunistic pests who will take advantage of your pet’s lapsed prevention and “bug” them, causing all sorts of illnesses. 

Not only can you count on our Columbia Pike Animal Hospital team to provide your pet’s routine veterinary care, but we’re also here for you in an emergency. If your four-legged friend gets up to mischief over the Thanksgiving holiday and scampers off with the whole turkey, give us a call for help.