Thanksgiving can be stressful for humans, but sometimes people don’t realize it can be challenging also for their pets.
The Seattle Animal Shelter offers holiday tips to help you make Thanksgiving a safe one for the pets in your family.
“Holidays are stressful enough,” said Mary Ellen Zoulas, D.V.M., medical director of the Spay and Neuter Clinic at the shelter. “The last thing you want to deal with after a long day of cooking, entertaining, and cleaning is a cat or dog that is sick from stress or overeating.”
- Keep the stress level down.
- Stick as closely as possible to your normal routine. Try not to vary the times you feed, walk, or play with your pet.
- Give your pet special attention, if possible, before any guests arrive at your home or prior to leaving, if you plan to celebrate elsewhere.
- Remember that not everyone is comfortable around dogs and that your dog may not be comfortable with unfamiliar people, if you’re hosting Thanksgiving.
- Give your pet a place to retreat to if things become too noisy or hectic for him or her. This could be the pet’s crate or a room that’s safe and away from the flow of traffic. Make sure that you provide fresh water and a litter box for your cat. To make sure your pet doesn’t feel ignored, give him or her something to keep him or her occupied such as a made-for-dog chew-bone or a toy your cat likes to play with on his or her own.
Thanksgiving food can be difficult for your dog or cat.
- Don’t share scraps from the table with your dog or cat either intentionally or by accident. Keep an eye on guests who want to “share” with your pets.
- Don’t give these foods to your cat or dog:
o Turkey bones
o Turkey skin
o Raw turkey
o Bread dough
o Raw batter – cake or cookie
o Onions – raw or cooked
o Walnuts and macadamia nuts
o Sage or herbs that contain essential oils.
- Never give your dog or cat alcohol.
- Remember that your floral arrangement on the table may look like a fresh salad to your cat, so keep him or her from taking a mouthful or two.
- Make sure that the string, foil, paper, butter wrapper, plastic coverings, and bones that you intend to throw away don’t get foraged and scavenged by your pet.
“Despite all my good advice, I have found that I am absolutely unable to ignore the pleading eyes of my dog or the plaintive mews of my grandcat,” said Zoulas.
With that in mind, she offers these acceptable ways to include your pet in Thanksgiving:
- You may give your dog a few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato, green beans, sweet potatoes, or even a tongue-swipe of pumpkin pie.
- You may share Thanksgiving with your cat by giving him or her a sliver of cooked white turkey meat or cooked giblet. Rather than pie, give him or her a taste of plain canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix.