Family Thanksgiving Cartoon

How to Have a Safe Thanksgiving with Your Furry Friends

Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends to gather. Despite COVID-19, there are plenty of safe ways for humans to celebrate this year. (Read current CDC recommendations here). But even under normal circumstances, Thanksgiving can pose some hazards to your precious pups. You’ll need to be cognizant of a few things to be sure your holiday is enjoyable and not problematic. Here are a few tips for how to have a safe Thanksgiving with your furry friends.

Make sure you keep your Thanksgiving feast on the table, not under it. I know, it sounds a little sophomoric but as you read further, you’ll discover how relative it is for a safe holiday for everyone.

Keep ALL Thanksgiving foods far away from curious four-pawed friends. Especially those tall enough to reach the counter or table, and most especially, those who have a proclivity for counter surfing. Like my Golden. He always knows when I’ve left the room or have turned my back.

If traveling with your pet this Thanksgiving, be sure he’s safely secured with the proper restraints for doggies. Also, be sure if you have spent days baking goodies to take along, they too, are properly secure where those radar noses can’t ferret them out and dispose of them before you reach your destination.  And if you have to leave your pup behind, make certain he has the proper accommodation either in your home with a responsible pet sitter or at a reputable pet boarding facility.

Hazardous and potentially poisonous risks

Eating too much yummy rich food is not only bad for humans, but for our pups as well. For them, the implications can prove far worse. For example, fatty foods are very hard for dogs to digest. Poultry bones can prove a nightmare as they can damage their digestive tract. And all those scrumptious holiday treats may contain ingredients that could potentially be poisonous for them.

DO NOT give them turkey fat or turkey skin. WHY?  Even a small amount could quite possibly cause a life-threatening condition in pets called pancreatitis.  If you think your pup has ingested something that might be detrimental to his health, get him to the vet. Better to be safe than sorry. Better yet… keep ALL foods far away from his ability to reach them. I cannot emphasize this enough.  PLEASE BE AWARE.  I know in the times of celebration, things can get hectic, especially in your kitchen. Just be aware of all the great aromas your pup will be smelling and wanting to explore their whereabouts.

So many foods that are healthy and enjoyable for humans are poisonous for pets. Here are a few:

·      Avocado
·      Bacon
·      Candy
·      Chocolate
·      Citrus
·      Coconut/coconut oil
·      Coffee/Tea
·      Garlic
·      Grapes
·      Macadamia nuts
·      Moldy food
·      Mushrooms
·      Onions/leeks
·      Raisins
·      Raw dough
·      Raw meat/raw eggs

The American Kennel Club has compiled a fairly complete list of human foods dogs can and cannot eat.  If you want to share a Thanksgiving treat with your pup, bake him a batch of cookies using one of our cookie recipes made just for him with your loving hands.

And, please, no pie or other people desserts for him… especially chocolate, of any kind. They’ll find it tempting. Just like you. But unlike you, it can be deadly for them. And another potentially deadly ingredient used in sugar-free products is an artificial sweetener known as XYLITOL. It’s widely used in baked goods, peanut butter, gum, and a host of others. Please keep these products away from your pups.

Another one you might not even have thought about, I know I had not known this, is yeast dough. But when you think about it you can see the glaring potential. Yeast dough can cause painful gas and dangerous bloating. Be careful. And what about that turkey carcass? Do not leave it out where your pup can reach it. Move it far away from his reach. Why? Because those bones could become deadly. Be absolutely vigilant when placing carcass, bones, and anything related to the turkey either before cooking and afterward, such as the packaging, strings, bags, etc., into a receptacle for disposal. Make sure it’s securely wrapped in a trash bag and placed in a tightly closed trash container preferably outside. If disposing of it inside, be sure it’s securely wrapped and placed in a closed and locked cabinet so your four-legged Houdini cannot possibly get it open and get into a world of trouble. Your Thanksgiving should be a wonderful memory. Not a tragedy.

This is also the time of year for introducing beautiful plants and flowers into our homes to grace our tables. But many can be toxic to your pooch. A few of them include Sweet William, Baby’s Breath, several types of ferns, amaryllis, poinsettias, hydrangeas, and others. Be certain before you introduce one of these into your home. The ASPCA provides lists of toxic and non-toxic plants. To keep your pups safe, just keep him away from all plants and table decorations. This is your safest route. If you think your pup has eaten something he should not have, call your vet or your local emergency vet clinic immediately. Some signs your pup may be in distress include a sudden change in his behavior, pain, diarrhea, vomiting, depression, lethargy, etc. Contact your vet immediately. The POISON CONTROL HOTLINE for the ASPCA is 888-426-4435.

This is also the time of year for parties, houseguests and oftentimes the visitors may tend to upset our furry friend’s normal routine. Just like humans, some pets are shy or excitable around new people or crowds of people. Thanksgiving can certainly provide many of both and all at once. Lots of additional noise and activity which could be stressful for your pup. You know your pet better than anyone and if stress will be a factor, put him in his crate with his favorite toys or put him in another room, and play some music to help calm his anxiousness. We want him safe and happy. You be the judge. You’re his best advocate.

Even if your pup is quite happy and comfortable being in the company of your guests, remember he’s probably a pretty good escape artist. Keep our eye on him and the exits, especially when guests arrive and depart. It’s so easy to become distracted as you tend to your guests’ needs and your dog may see this as his opportunity to make his escape. You don’t want to have this happen and possibly lose your pet. Please, pay attention.  Make sure he’s been microchipped and has proper identification and your local contact info, such as your cell phone number, on his collar. Also, be sure all his shots are up to date. This way if he does magically escape, he’s more likely to be returned to you, safe and sound.

Those beautiful holiday decorations can be hazardous to your pet, as well. This one’s a no-brainer. Never leave him in an area with lit candles. The implications can be catastrophic. Fire is not your friend. Need I say more? And some additional things that are not your pup’s friend are pine needles, pinecones, and other decorations which can cause intestinal blockages and even perforate his intestine if ingested.

We want your Thanksgiving to be a joyful event for all members of your family, both human and furry ones. You can do this by protecting them against food-borne illnesses while cooking your Thanksgiving meal. Use safe food handling, wash your hands, and disinfect all prep areas afterward. The U. S. Dept. of Agriculture offers tips for handling, thawing, and cooking turkey as well as storing your leftovers.

We are thankful for you


Lisa and I want to take this opportunity to thank you for being such loyal, valued, and engaging members of our website: and our companion Facebook Group Good Old Doggie. You have not only made it a fun and exciting place for folks to visit and share stories about their doggies and about you, their pet parents, but it has given us a platform on which to explore a vast array of topics to help you better the life of your senior pups and all pups, in general. Informative and engaging articles. Fun and funny articles.  Some sad, as we say our final goodbyes to our furry friends. (Those are the most difficult to write.) And a place where you can feel free to express your thoughts and suggestions.

We not only cherish your friendship, your wonderful pictures, and stories of your precious pups, but we cherish the love, genuine concern, and affection shown by each and every one of you, not only to us but to all the members of our website and our Facebook Group. You, our loving and caring friends, are what makes this all worthwhile. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts and we want to wish each of you, your families, including, your special furry friends, a very happy, safe, and blessed Thanksgiving.


Carroll and Lisa (and our furry best friends, Drummer and Fancy)


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