Thanksgiving with Pets

Thanksgiving with Pets: Lessons & Safety Tips

New people, new smells — SO many new smells!– food everywhere… oh, this is the best day ever. I want to be everywhere at once. I want to see and taste everything!

If you’ve been following KirinGie.Me, you’ve probably read our articles on how to prevent pet poisoning, and about the most common plants and mushrooms that are toxic to pets. But as the holiday season creeps closer, it’s important to keep in mind additional foods and situations that may pose a danger to your pet during this chilly, cheerful time of year.

The First Thanksgiving… Pets Included

If Jean Leone Gerome Ferris’s The First Thanksgiving painting is any indication, there were at least two dogs present at the first Thanksgiving, presumably brought over on the Mayflower from England: a Mastiff and an English Springer Spaniel. tells the Thanksgiving story of John Goodman and these two dogs, who while unnamed, were a part of the hunting and gathering parties, among other undocumented pups brought over with the 66 original Pilgrims. Very little is recounted about these two, but one thing is for certain: pets have always been involved in American holiday celebrations!

Toxic Turkey Day Foods for Pets

The ASPCA has a fantastic list of foods that are dangerous for pets to ingest. However, here are a few more additional Thanksgiving-specific food items to keep away from your furry family members.

  • Grapes and raisins
  • Fatty table scraps
  • Onions, garlic, leeks, chives
  • Alcohol
  • Nutmeg
  • Nuts

Other Dangers

Deep Fryers:

Many families have forgone the traditional oven turkey in favor of deep-fried goodness. While this cooking method comes with its own set risks, it also poses a particular danger for pets. Be sure to keep your fryer secured and out of reach of curious pets to prevent the hot oil tipping over. Whenever possible, keep pets in the opposite locations of the bubbling bird — if frying outside, keep your animal indoors, and vice versa. And while you’re at it, be sure to keep pets out of the main kitchen as well. The smells may be enticing, but tripping over a pet while carrying a hot dish or a wayward knife can lead to serious injuries.

Open Doors:

As family comes, goes, and socializes throughout the home, doors can be unintentionally left open, giving pets the opportunity to bolt. While we’ve got you covered in case Fido does go missing, keep the whole family together for the holidays by keeping an eye on the exits to prevent lost pets.


After the Tryptophan and the last bite has been consumed, some pet owners like to indulge Fido with the treat of leftover turkey bones. But beware: bird bones are particularly dangerous for pets as they can splinter in the throat or mouth, or even cause a blockage in the intestines — both of which are emergencies that require immediate veterinary attention. While the wider pet community has contradicting opinions as to the safety of bones, PetMD and the American Kennel Club both agree that for your pet’s safety, the safest route is to avoid feeding them bones of any kind. Or, if denying your pet that once a year luxury proves too difficult, giving your pooch the occasional large bone (ideally one that cannot be fit whole inside the mouth and is not of the feathered variety) under close supervision is a relatively benign option.

Other Pets:

Your animal is sweet and well-behaved, perhaps even a little skittish of new guests. Aunt Muriel’s visiting brood of pups is loud and obtrusive, and they like to step on your pet’s toes and invade their personal space. What’s a pet parent to do? Extra pets around the holidays can cause unneeded stress for your pets. Be sure to give your pet a safe haven to retreat to away from guests where they can have a personal space to unwind in peace and quiet.

Remember — Safety First

Particularly during the holiday season when pets are exposed to new foods, smells, and people, an excitable pet can easily get overwhelmed. Keep our Emergency Pet First Aid graphic handy to be prepared for any unexpected situations that may arise.

Is KirinGie.Me in your community yet?

If not, pre-register today to let us know you want our program in your neighborhood. Be the voice pets need. Together we can protect them. There is no cost or obligation to join.

Freshly baked…

Share your thoughts: