Why We Train Them Not to Beg
Overindulging in the family feast can be unhealthy for humans, but even worse for pets. Fatty foods are hard to digest. Poultry bones, while tasty, can damage their digestive tract; and holiday sweets sometimes contain ingredients that are poisonous to pets.
Keep the feast on the table—not under it. Eating turkey or turkey skin – sometimes even a small amount – can cause a life-threatening condition known as pancreatitis. If you want to share a Thanksgiving treat with your four-legged buddy (which we all know how hard it is to say no to that face), we pawsitively recommend that you make or buy a festive flavored treat that is made specifically for pets.
No pie or other desserts for your pooch. Chocolate can be harmful to pets, even though many of them will find it tempting and will sniff it out and eat it. The artificial sweetener called xylitol – commonly used in gum and sugar-free baked goods – can be fatal for Fido.
Yeast dough is a no go. It can cause problems for pets, including painful gas and potentially dangerous bloating.
Keep the trash away. A turkey carcass sitting out on the carving table, or left in a trash container that is open or easily opened, could be deadly to your furry family member. Dispose of turkey carcasses and bones – and anything used to wrap or tie the meat, such as strings, bags, and packaging – in a covered, tightly secured trash bag placed in a closed trash container outdoors (or behind a closed, locked door).
They look pretty, but be careful with decorative plants. Don’t forget that some flowers and festive plants can be toxic to pets. These include amaryllis, Baby’s Breath, Sweet William, some ferns, hydrangeas and more. The ASPCA offers lists of plants that are toxic to both dogs and cats, but the safest route is simply to keep your pets away from all plants and table decorations.
Real Party Animals
If you’re hosting a party or overnight visitors, plan ahead to keep your pets safe and make the experience less stressful for everyone.
Visitors can upset your pets. Some pets are shy or excitable around new people or in crowds, and Thanksgiving often means many visitors at once and higher-than-usual noise and activity levels. If you know your dog or cat is nervous when people visit your home, put him/her in another room or a crate with a favorite toy. This will reduce the emotional stress on your pet and protect your guests from possible injury. If your pet is particularly upset by guests, talk to your veterinarian about possible solutions to this common problem.
Pets bring many people smiles, but for some, they also bring sniffles Keep those guests in mind who have compromised immune systems (due to pregnancy, some diseases, allergies or medications or treatments that suppress the immune system). Make sure they’re aware of the pets (especially exotic pets) in your home so they can take extra precautions to protect themselves.
If you have exotic pets, remember that some people are uncomfortable around them and that these pets may be more easily stressed by the festivities. Keep exotic pets safely away from the excitement of the holiday.
Watch the exits. Even if your pets are comfortable around guests, make sure you watch them closely, especially when people are entering or leaving your home. While you’re welcoming hungry guests, a four-legged family member may make a break for it out the door and become lost.
Identification tags and microchips reunite families. Make sure your pet has proper identification with your current contact information – particularly a microchip with up-to-date, registered information. That way, if they do sneak out, they’re more likely to be returned to you. If your pet isn’t already microchipped, talk to your veterinarian about the benefits of this simple procedure.
Watch your pets around festive decorations. Special holiday displays or candles are attractive to pets as well as people. Never leave a pet alone in an area with a lit candle; it could result in a fire. And pine cones, needles and other decorations can cause intestinal blockages or even perforate an animal’s intestine if eaten. Remember National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation? Enough said.
Leaving on a Jet Plane
…or maybe just in the car
Whether you take your pets with you or leave them behind, take these precautions to safeguard them when traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday or at any other time of the year.
Your pet needs a health certificate from your veterinarian if you’re traveling across state lines or international borders, whether by air or car. Learn the requirements for any states you will visit or pass through, and schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to get the needed certificate within the timeframes required by those states.
Pets should always be safely restrained in vehicles.This means using a secure harness or a carrier, placed in a location clear of airbags. This helps protect your pets if you brake or swerve suddenly, or get in an accident; keeps them away from potentially poisonous food or other items you are transporting; prevents them from causing dangerous distractions for the driver; and can prevent small animals from getting trapped in small spaces. Never transport your pet in the bed of a truck.
Talk with your veterinarian if you’re traveling by air and considering bringing your pet with you. Air travel can put some pets at risk. Your veterinarian is the best person to advise you regarding your own pet’s ability to travel.
Pack for your pet as well as yourself if you’re going to travel together. In addition to your pet’s food and medications, this includes bringing medical records, information to help identify your pet if it becomes lost, first aid supplies, and other items.
While these are only a few things to keep in mind over the holiday season and other times of the year, it’s a great place to start when making festive plans. Incorporating your family pets into these plans will only ensure a more enjoyable, less stressful holiday season!
Source: American Veterinary Medical Association, avma.org