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Thanksgiving Preparation for Your Pet

Thanksgiving is a time of showing gratitude for the goodness we have in our lives. Among the things that many of us give thanks for are our pets! During the holiday season, which for many of us starts at Thanksgiving and ends on New Year’s Day, we are home more often. This allows us to spend more time with our pets. It may also present more challenges for our pets as there may be unusual foods, as well as unusual people and noises in our homes. We at Sit & Stay Pet Care Services would like to share some holiday tips to make your season go as smoothly as possible.

Food Don’ts

  • Raw bread dough. “Yeast dough sugars convert into ethanol and carbon dioxide, which can be life-threatening to cats and dogs.”

  • Raw turkey, turkey carcasses, or skin. Turkey bone can shatter into small pieces, causing tears internally, or injuries far more severe. Turkey skin is fatty which may result in pancreatitis if too much is eaten.

  • Ham or ham bones. Ham is loaded with nitrates, and nitrates are sodium-based. Large amounts of salt can be toxic to pets. Ham has a higher amount of fats than most other meats, and therefore can produce the same effect as turkey skin. A very small sliver would be acceptable, but nothing more and not too often. Ham bones are also not advisable.

  • Garlic, onions, chives, or leeks (alliums). Most main courses and side dishes contain one or more of these items. “Over time, continuous high doses of allium vegetables can cause oxidative damage to the red blood cells, gastrointestinal distress, and even anemia.”

  • Nutmeg, artificial sweeteners, chocolate. Artificial sweeteners and additives such as xylitol found in candies and peanut butter are very common around the holiday table. Other spices and chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can also be toxic in relative amounts.

Food Dos

  • Lean cuts of boneless meat. Sharing turkey or chicken breast meat, or lean cuts of beef that are low in sodium can be a nice way for your pet to join you in your holiday meal.

  • Plain, cooked vegetables. There are many safe vegetables to include in your pet’s diet: sweet potatoes, pumpkin, green beans, broccoli, carrots, celery, corn, zucchini, butternut and acorn squashes are the most common options. (No butter added.)

  • Peanut butter. Salt free and sugar-free (without xylitol) peanut butter is a definite yes!

Remember, if you are sharing table food with your pet, adjust their regular daily meals accordingly. Overfeeding can cause digestive upset leading to vomiting or other illnesses. Especially if your pet is overweight, be mindful of its caloric intake.

The Kitchen

Animals are sensitive creatures and can feel household anxiety when their humans are dreading interrelationships or even just in a rush to get things done. This type of anxiety can cause your pets to get underfoot while you are swiftly moving around the house, and especially in the kitchen where they are hopeful to find things you may drop whilst cooking. Sometimes they just feel the excitement in the air and are extremely attention-seeking and just want to play! Either expression of anxiety could cause unwanted accidents in the house, but in the kitchen the results could be disastrous and possibly harmful to both humans and pets.

Houseguest Rules

New faces and smells can over stimulate both cats and dogs, causing a myriad of excited responses. While many cats may run away from guests, many dogs may run toward them. Both response types could potentially harm your pet or your guest. A cat or dog, while trying to run away, may be prevented by an unknowing guest or child, causing your pet to lash out and scratch or bite. A pet who unknowingly advances towards an adult or child who does not like animals may also be met with a negative response.

There are many reasons why guests should be pre advised of pets in the house and the rules which should apply. After all, your pets have been there most of their lives and your home is their safe space. Anyone entering into their safe space may or may not be welcomed. It is the responsibility of an animal guardian to advise all guests of a pet's dispositions and handling rules, especially where children are involved. Warn guests of potential aggressions, pet territories, rules against feeding table scraps, and any other information that will help keep your pet safe and calm, and your visitors free from harm.

Holiday events can be stressful all on their own without the added possibility of pet-related accidents. A little extra pre-thought and planning will reduce the risk of unnecessary trips to the emergency room and increase the amount of time you have to spend with your loved ones and pets; something everyone can be thankful for.

Previous Sit & Stay Blogs to Prepare you Pet for the Holidays

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