Thanksgiving is a time for friends, family and holiday feasts—but also a time for possible distress for our animal companions. Pets won’t be so thankful if they munch on undercooked turkey or a pet-unfriendly floral arrangement, or if they stumble upon an unattended alcoholic drink.
Check out the following tips for a fulfilling Thanksgiving that your pets can enjoy, too:
- Talkin’ Turkey: If you decide to feed your pet a small bite of turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don’t offer her raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria. Do not give your pet the left over carcass–the bones can be problematic for the digestive tract.
- No Bread Dough: Don’t spoil your pet’s holiday by giving him access to raw yeast bread dough. When a dog or cat ingests raw bread dough, the yeast continues to convert the sugars in the dough to carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. This can result in bloated drunken pets, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring hospitalization.
- Don’t Let Them Eat Cake: If you plan to bake Thanksgiving desserts, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs—they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.
- A Feast Fit for a King: While your family enjoys a special meal, give your cat and dog a small feast of their own. Offer them made-for-pets chew bones. Or stuff their usual dinner—perhaps with a few added tidbits of turkey, vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans) and dribbles of gravy—inside a food puzzle toy. They’ll be happily occupied for awhile, working hard to extract their dinner from the toy.
A few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. However, don’t allow your pets to overindulge, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse—an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. In fact, it’s best keep pets on their regular diets during the holidays. Please visit our People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page for more information.
Halloween is in just a few days, which means frightening family fun—from costume contests to trick-or-treating—is right around the corner. Although Halloween is filled with light-hearted tricks and treats, it’s important to keep safety in mind for every member of the family—including your pets. Halloween can pose a number of potential safety hazards for pets, who tend to experience high levels of stress due to the hustle and bustle of the holiday. Here are a few tips to keep you and your four-legged family members safe and happy this Halloween:
Costumes—while cute, can be dangerous for pets. Costume contests are popular around Halloween, and it’s tempting to want to dress up your four-legged friend in their own costume. After all, who can resist dressing up a pet in a cute witch’s cape or antlers? But if you do choose to dress your pet up in costume, make sure they can move in it comfortably and most importantly, safely. Avoid costumes that require tying anything around your pet’s neck that can choke them, or costumes that hang to the ground that they may stumble over. Let your pet be the judge. If they struggle and are uncomfortable, then maybe it’s best to let them stay dressed as a Corgi rather than a ghost!
Keep your pet away from harmful Halloween candy and food. Before you give in to your pet’s pleading eyes and feed them that Halloween candy bar, be aware of the harmful consequences of feeding human food to any animal. Chocolate—especially baking chocolate—can be deadly to a dog, so keep all such goodies well out of reach. To reduce temptation, feed your pet before any guests arrive so they will be less likely to beg and steal food. Tell your guests of any house rules regarding your pet, such as not feeding them scraps from the table.
If nicotine and alcohol will be consumed in your home this Halloween, be extra vigilant to keep these items out of your pet’s reach. These substances can be highly toxic—even deadly—to animals.
Keep your home a safe space for your pet. Animals can get stressed with the hustle and bustle of guests and trick-or- treaters. It’s best to keep your pets indoors and provide them with a safe, quiet, escape-proof room where they can be removed from the energy and excitement of the holiday. Remember to provide plenty of food and water, and let your pet catch up on some Zs!
As trick-or-treaters come to your door, there will be many opportunities for your pets to slip out unnoticed. Make sure that your pets always wear current identification tags, consider having your pets microchipped if you haven’t already—and watch the door!
Halloween, and all the spooky fun that accompanies the holiday, is best enjoyed when the entire family is safe and happy. Follow these tips, and your pet will have just as much fun as you and your kids this Halloween! Be sure to visit our holiday tips page for even more helpful advice to help you and your pets with some of the other upcoming holidays.
A special thanks to Texas Roadhouse on Union Rd. in Cheektowaga for hosting our fundraising event on September 24th!
Attendees enjoyed great food and supported a great cause.
Thanks to Buffalo Barks and our other sponsors for their generous basket donations. Here are the winners:
50/50 – Tom Cegielski
Handmade Fleece Blanket – Joe Wolf
Melaleuca Basket – SandyDiPoalo
Furtastic Basket – Jenny Smith
Buffalo Barks Basket – Emily
Follow these tips to keep your pet safe this Independence Day:
1. Keep your Pet Indoors at All Times!
More Pets are lost on Independence Day than any other day of the year. It may seem obvious, but even if your pet is used to being outside, the resulting panic caused by fireworks or other loud noises may make them break their restraint or jump a fence in a terrified attempt to find safety.
2. Don’t Put Insect Repellant or Sunscreen on Your Pet that isn’t Specifically for Pet Use
What isn’t toxic to humans can be toxic to animals. The ASPCA lists the poisonous effects of sunscreen on your pet as, “…drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy.” DEET, a common insecticide, may cause neurological issues.
3. Alcoholic Drinks Poison Pets
If your pet drinks alcohol, they can become dangerously intoxicated, go into a coma, or in severe cases, die from respiratory failure. Yes, even beer is toxic; fermented hops and ethanol are poisonous to dogs and cats.
4. Going to a Fireworks Display? Leave Your Pet at Home
The safest place for your pet is at home, not in a crowded, unfamiliar and noisy place. The combination of too many people and loud fireworks will make your beloved pet freak out and desperately seek shelter. Locking them in the car is also not an option; your pet may suffer brain damage and heat stroke. Leave them in a secured, quiet area or leave music or the TV on.
5. Be Prepared if Your Pet Does Escape
If your pet manages to break loose and become lost, without proper identification it will be that much harder to get them back. Consider fitting your pet with microchip identification, ID tags with their name and your phone number, or both. It is also a good idea to have a recent picture of your pets in case you have to put up signs.
6. Keep Your Pet Away from Glow Jewelry
It might look cute, but your pet could chew up and swallow the plastic adornments. The ASPCA states that while not highly toxic, “excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.”
7. NEVER Use Fireworks Around Pets
While lit fireworks can pose a danger to curious pets and potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws, even unused fireworks can be hazardous. Some fireworks contain potentially toxic substances such as arsenic, potassium nitrate, and other heavy metals.
8. Don’t Give Your Pet “Table Food”
If you are having a backyard barbeque, you may be tempted to slip some snacks to your pet. But like beer and chocolate, there are other festive foods that could harm your pet. Onions, coffee, avocado, grapes & raisins, salt and yeast dough are all possible hazards for dogs and cats. Keep some pet treats on hand for guests who want to offer your pet a treat.
9. Lighter Fluid and Matches Are Harmful to Pets
The ASPCA lists chlorates as a harmful chemical substance found in some matches that, if ingested, can cause your pet difficulty in breathing, damage blood cells or even cause kidney disease. If exposed to lighter fluid, your pet may sustain skin irritation on contact, respiratory problems if inhaled, and gastric problems if ingested. Hot grills are also dangerous to curious pets, keep them entertained away from the flames.
Oils, candles, insect coils and other citronella-based repellants are irritating toxins to pets, according to the ASPCA. The result of inhalation can cause severe respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia, and ingestion can harm your pet’s nervous system.