If you’re planning a Thanksgiving dinner with pets present, here are some tips to make it a special time for you, your family, and your pets.I’ll never forget a client relating how her beagle  climbed up onto their Thanksgiving table once everyone had retired to an adjoining room for dessert, and gobbled down a huge portion of leftover turkey! No one noticed the deed until much later. Fortunately, the dog was O.K. but was obviously feeling left out of all the feasting happening that day.

There are lots of ways to include your pets in Thanksgiving celebrating without having your dinner spoiled by an overzealous pet. ASPCA experts offer these tips:

  • If you decide to give your pets a bit of turkey, make sure it’s boneless, skinless and well-cooked. Raw or undercooked turkey, as well as turkey left setting out for more than two hours, may contain salmonella bacteria. Mix the turkey in with your dog’s regular food for a treat. Puree turkey with sweet potatoes or pumpkin and add to your cat’s regular food.

 

  • Sage is a great ingredient in Thanksgiving stuffing but it and many other herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils.

 

  • Keep raw bread dough away from pets. According to ASPCA experts, when raw bread dough is eaten. an animal’s body heat causes the dough to rise in its stomach. As it expands, the pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency.

 

  • If you’re baking Thanksgiving treats, be sure your pets stay out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs. The eggs could contain salmonella bacteria that may cause food poisoning.

 

  • Pets that overindulge in Thanksgiving food could wind up with stomach upset, diarrhea or — more seriously — an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. It’s best for pets to stay on their regular diets during holidays.

 

  • Some safe foods for pets from the Thanksgiving table include cooked vegetables like pumpkins, sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans and peas. Pet birds also love fresh veggies and fruits, including cooked sweet potatoes and cranberries. Even small pocket pets like gerbils can enjoy raw vegetables like carrots and broccoli if given sparingly.

 

  • While your guests are enjoying Thanksgiving dinner, give your cat and dog their own little feast. Offer them Nylabones or made-for-pet chew bones. Or stuff their usual dinner with a few added tidbits of turkey, vegetables like sweet potato or green beans, and dribbles of gravy into a Kong toy. This will keep them distracted and working hard to get at their dinner from the toy.

 

Make your pet thankful to you by supplying them with safe and healthy Thanksgiving treats. Everyone will have a better holiday experience when you do.

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