Due to social distancing guidelines, Thanksgiving is going to look different compared to years past. What won’t be different is everyone in your immediate household, including your pet, getting together to give thanks for the blessings you received in 2020. However, it is key to remember that there are dangers that can lurk inside and throughout your Thanksgiving feast that could be harmful to your furry family member.

It can be tempting to everyone at your dinner table to sneak her a taste of one of the most delicious meals of the year, but you need to be aware of the ingredients included in that dinner that can be toxic to your pets. 

When planning your meal for the holiday, make sure you keep your pet away from the following foods:

Turkey: Avoid giving your pet any turkey meat and never give them any leftover bones. Bones are a choking hazard for all animals, and they can also splinter inside your pet’s digestive tract which can cause you to cancel your holiday plans for an emergency trip to the veterinarian. 

Desserts: It is widely known that chocolate is a toxic ingredient for both dogs and cats. But other common Thanksgiving dessert ingredients including raisins and the sugar-substitute Xylitol can also be very dangerous. It’s smart to make sure that all desserts are kept out of reach to help lessen the chances of them getting very sick.

Garlic, onion, leeks, and chives: The dangers of these seasonings aren’t as widely known, but can still cause major health issues for your pet as they can cause destruction of their red blood cells. It’s key to make sure she doesn’t take a bit of anything that utilizes these ingredients.

If you don’t want to leave your pet out of the holiday celebration, there are still foods that are common at the Thanksgiving table that they can partake in. Pet-friendly foods like raw fruits and vegetables, such as small portions of baby carrots, green beans, apples, chunks of sweet potato, or pumpkin puree are great options – just be sure to steer clear of grapes. If you choose to feed them pumpkin puree, make sure it’s not the sweetened, spiced pie filling. 

“The best way to celebrate thanksgiving with your animals is to feed them safe foods, specially prepared and approved for their species,” says Larimer Humane Society Supervising Veterinarian Lindsey Gapstur.

If you feel like your pet has ingested something that is harmful to their health, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Hotline is a resource you can use 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They can be reached at (888) 426-4435.

By practicing these Thanksgiving pet safety tips, you and your pet can enjoy a safe and healthy holiday!