Like everything else in 2020, for most people this Thanksgiving will look quite different than traditional ones. There will likely be fewer folks around the dinner table. Friends may be connecting on FaceTime. Grandma might be joining by Zoom, sadly without her famous applesauce sweet potatoes.
Although there might be fewer human visitors, one thing that’s certain is that more than 785,000 newly adopted dogs and cats are thankful to be in homes, according to Shelter Animals Count. An additional 60,000 or so pets are grateful to be spending the holiday in foster homes, according to PetPoint’s 24Pet ShelterWatch report. Many people are counting their blessings with a pet in their home for the first time. For this reason, Best Friends Animal Society hopes to help make this a happy, healthy holiday for all family members by offering a few special precautions to protect our pets:
Those soulful eyes may tempt pet owners to give in to their begging critters, but sharing the fabulous feast can lead to trouble for pets.
Too much rich, fatty food, or simply new, unfamiliar foods can upset a pet’s stomach–and even cause pancreatitis, which can be life-threatening—so owners should go easy on the tidbits. Poultry or ham bones can break up or splinter in a pet’s stomach and be deadly, so dogs and cats should never be allowed to gnaw on them, and bones should go outside to the trash immediately. Other food-flavored items like plastic wrap, string, mesh or the pop-up timer can smell tempting to curious pets, but can injure their stomachs if stolen and ingested.
Chocolate, especially that used for baking, is toxic for dogs, so it should be kept out of reach. Other common food items that can be poisonous to dogs include onions, raisins and grapes, so avoid sharing these.
It’s a good idea to review these rules with any guests as well, since well-meaning holiday visitors might not know the potential harm caused by slipping treats to the pets under the table. If pet owners want to make the holiday special for their four-footed family members, they should plan ahead and have safe, delicious dog and cat treats on hand, like canned pet food or a tasty pet treats or fun toy. There are also many great recipes online for homemade dog and cat treats that are fun to make and extra special for our pets.
A final note to consider is that many common decorative plants and flowers can be toxic for curious cats and dogs, so before buying plants or creating the centerpiece, it’s wise to check to ensure that you’re not using anything that could poison your pets. According to the AVMA, some plant hazards include amaryllis, baby’s breath, sweet William, some ferns, hydrangeas and others.
Thanksgiving is often one of the busiest evenings for emergency vet clinics, so it’s an important time to be extra careful with our animal friends. (Especially this year, when many animal hospitals are operating under COVID restrictions.) That way the holiday can be happy and healthy for everyone, and maybe your veterinarian can have the night off too.