As you watch the floats and balloons pass by during the Thanksgiving day parade, you should be aware that the holiday poses certain risks for your pet. Several famous pets participate in the parade every year, and our team at All Pets Medical Center thought they could provide expert advice, to protect your pet from harm during the holiday.

Snoopy says, “I’m a sociable dog, but I need some quiet time to practice my Flying Ace maneuvers. Charlie Brown ensures I have time to myself during the Thanksgiving holiday, so I never get overwhelmed.”

Many pets become stressed when strangers invade their home, and they can become panicked and run away. If you are having guests, take steps to ensure your pet is not upset.

  • Quiet zone — Designate a room in your house where your pet can stay during the gathering. Ensure they have their necessities, including food, water, toys, and a litter box, if needed. Ensure your guests won’t need to access the room, and check on your pet frequently, so they don’t get anxious.
  • Introductions — If your pet is comfortable mingling with your guests, introduce each guest one at a time, so your pet does not feel overwhelmed. 
  • Vigilance — Inform your guests that your pet is not allowed outside, and post signs on your doors to remind them to keep an eye out for your pet as they go in and out.
  • Identification — All pets should wear a collar and identification tags with your current contact information, in case they are able to sneak away. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends having your pet microchipped, to provide permanent identification.

Garfield says, “I’m known for finding ways to steal savory treats, and Thanksgiving is a perfect time to sneak a delectable morsel from the table.”

The tantalizing smells from the kitchen will likely have your pet drooling and begging for a handout, but a sudden change in your pet’s diet can cause gastrointestinal upset, and possibly trigger pancreatitis, a serious, potentially life-threatening condition. Other savory foods that can be dangerous for your pet include:

  • Turkey — The turkey poses several risks for your pet. The turkey skin is high in fat, and can precipitate a pancreatitis episode. The bones are extremely brittle, and if they splinter when your pet is eating them, they could cause a choking hazard, or injure their mouth or throat. In addition, the turkey brine is extremely high in salt, and your pet can develop salt toxicity if they ingest the solution.
  • Onions and garlic — All vegetables in the Allium family, including onions, garlic, leeks, and chives, contain thiosulphates, which are toxic to pets. They cause your pet’s red blood cells to break down, leading to anemia. 
  • Raisins and grapes — Commonly used in the stuffing and other sides, grapes and raisins contain an unknown toxin that causes kidney failure in pets.
  • Raw yeast dough — If ingested by your pet, the yeast in the dough will expand, causing bloat. In addition, alcohol is produced as the yeast ferments, which can cause alcohol poisoning.

Scooby Doo says, “Shaggy and I are always hungry, and we love our Scooby Snacks. I hope he will share his dessert with me this Thanksgiving, and appease my sweet tooth.”

Providing your pet’s own Scooby Snacks is a good idea to distract them from the dessert table, since several sweet treats are problematic for your pet.

  • Chocolate — Two toxins, theobromine and caffeine, are found in chocolate, and can stimulate your pet’s central nervous system, leading to agitation, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg — Commonly used to make pumpkin pie, these spices can cause gastrointestinal upset. Also, high quantities of nutmeg can cause disorientation, increased heart rate, and seizures.

Felix the Cat says, “My mischievous nature prompts me to investigate any new decor in my environment. If the item isn’t edible, away it goes! Watching objects fall is fascinating.”

Pets are curious by nature, and they will use their paws or mouth to investigate any new items in their environment. Decorations that can be harmful for your pet include:

  • Candles — If knocked over, a lit candle will become a fire hazard.
  • Potpourri — This scented decoration contains herbs and oils that are poisonous to your pet.
  • Lilies — While lilies can cause gastrointestinal upset for dogs, they cause kidney failure and are deadly to cats. All plant parts, and the water in the vase, are dangerous for your pet.
  • Autumn crocuses — Colchicine, the toxin found in these plants, causes severe vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver and kidney damage, and respiratory failure.

Clifford the Big Red Dog says, “I love going everywhere with my family, and they always ensure I’m safe when we travel.”

Traveling with your pet is sometimes necessary, and you can keep them safe by following these tips:

  • Auto travel — Never leave your pet in an unattended vehicle. They are susceptible to heatstroke, which can quickly become a life-threatening situation.
  • Restraint — Appropriately restrain your pet in the vehicle, using a pet carrier or a fitted harness.
  • Air travel — If you are flying with your pet, ensure they will not have to travel in the cargo hold, which is a dangerous area for pets.

Our famous expert pets have given great advice to keep your pet out of harm’s way this Thanksgiving. If you need a health certificate to travel with your pet, contact our Fear Free team at All Pets Medical Center, so we can ensure they are prepared for the trip.