Keep your pets safe while you give thanks!

Turkey, fixings, family and friends—Thanksgiving is a time to eat, drink and be merry with the ones you love. And for many of us, that includes our furry family members. So how can you let your pets in on the festivities while ensuring their safety? Here are some things to keep in mind so you can keep your pets healthy and safe this Thanksgiving.

Let’s talk turkey

The star of Thanksgiving is, of course, the bird. You might be wondering if it’s OK to share a taste with your pet. The short answer is yes, but only a taste. Make sure the turkey is well cooked, skinless and boneless. Even small amounts of turkey can cause a life-threatening condition called pancreatitis in pets. If you really want to treat your pets, buy a treat or food made just for them.

The turkey’s great, but the fixings are where it’s at

Those delicious side dishes can often steal the spotlight from the turkey—and rightly so! Who doesn’t love stuffing, mashed potatoes and dinner rolls? Your pets, that’s who. Pets have a hard time digesting fatty foods and ingredients in those items, and other foods you may be serving can be poisonous to pets. So it’s best to keep your feast on the table and out of their food bowls.

Pass on the dessert

Whether it’s pie, cake or cookies, you’ll want to have your pet skip dessert. Items like chocolate and the artificial sweetener xylitol—commonly used in gum and sugar-free baked goods—can be deadly if consumed by cats or dogs.

Trash talk

This one’s pretty simple. Since dangerous items like turkey bones, string and bags used to cook the bird, onions, raisins and grapes are likely to end up in your trash, make sure your garbage is well secured and stored where your pet cannot access it.

Setting the scene

If you’re the Martha Stewart type, the table settings and holiday decorations are just as important as the meal. As you set the perfect scene, remember that certain types of flowers and plants—such as amaryllis, ferns, hydrangeas and more—are toxic to pets, so make sure arrangements and other decorations are out of paw’s reach.

Visiting team

You’re likely to share the holiday with friends and family. Make sure everyone is aware of what is and isn’t OK to give your pet. Provide your guests with treats just for your pets if you know they won’t be able to resist those puppy dog (or kitty cat) eyes.

Safe space

Remember that it can be stressful on your pets to have people coming in and out of your home. Be sure to provide them with a safe, quiet area in the home where they can take a break from the festivities.

Watch the exits

Lastly, as friends and family enter and depart your home, keep an eye on the doors. While you’re welcoming guests or seeing them off for the evening, your pet may take that opportunity to dart out the door. Also, make sure your pet’s tags and microchip ID are up to date in case he manages to squeeze out the door; this will give you the best chance of being reunited with your furry family member.

We hope these tips help you enjoy a safe and happy day of giving thanks along with your friends and family—including those with fur. Happy Thanksgiving!