Thanksgiving is all about sharing, and while you might be tempted to invite your cat or dog to join you as you indulge in a mountain of goodies, please don’t!


Refrain from giving any part of that beautiful bird to your cat or dog. While it may seem like just a little piece of turkey skin couldn’t hurt your pet, it can actually cause a life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas called pancreatitis. Clinical signs of pancreatitis include severe abdominal pain, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and depression… If you suspect your pet has pancreatitis, take them to the vet immediately. Overweight dogs are even more at risk.

I can’t speak enough about the dangers of bones. Cooked turkey bones can splinter and lodge in an animal’s throat or intestines with life-threatening consequences. The carcass can also create dangers as it may harbor salmonella, an organism that lives in the turkey’s intestinal tract. The cooking process usually kills all of the bacteria, but occasionally the center of the turkey may be undercooked, especially if it’s large or full of stuffing. If the carcass sits out at room temperature for too long, the bacteria will multiply, and pets can become violently ill from eating it. Symptoms of salmonella poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, listlessness, fever, and loss of appetite. Make sure you either freeze the carcass or tie it up in a plastic bag and throw it out in a secure dumpster where no pets can get to it. The same goes for the string used to tie up the turkey; dripping with turkey juices, that string is a delicacy for cats and dogs just waiting for you to turn your back. Incredibly, dogs have been known to pull whole turkeys off of ovens and tables!.


We may violate our diets and good senses, but don’t subject your pets to the dangers of overfeeding. Pets shouldn’t gain any extra pounds over the holidays. Keep all candy and baked goods out of reach of hungry pets and make sure your cat or dog isn’t left unsupervised in the kitchen. Some pets find packaging quite tasty and will chew and swallow it, with disastrous results. Never give your pets alcoholic beverages, chocolate, or people food of any kind. Believe it or not, most pets would prefer more attention instead of food and toys!


Don’t just expect that your pets, who may not be used to increased traffic in the house, will take this added stress in stride. Take precautions to take the edge off your pets by creating a safe haven to which they can retreat. Provide a quiet room where your cat or dog can escape the holiday activities and guests. Make sure to include their food, water, and favorite scratching post or bed.

Dogs and cats are creatures of habit, so don’t deviate from exercise or feeding schedules. Also, be on the alert when guests arrive. Make sure all visitors know not to let pets escape out the door. It’s also a great time to make sure that all pets have collars with current ID tags and information.

Be sure to caution all guests, both kids and adults, not to give your pets anything except their normal food and treats. Non-pet owners are often unaware of the dangers of offering food from their plate to your begging pets.