How To Make Thanksgiving Safe For Your Dog!

bulldog playing in the fallen leaves

Thanksgiving Pet Safety

Estimated Read Time: 2 ½ minutes


Thanksgiving is a United States federal holiday, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November every year. It’s a time of celebration, spent with those we love, and that includes our favorite furry friends!

However, before we get stuck into the turkey, it’s a good idea to prepare how to make this special day as pet friendly as possible…

Thanksgiving Pet Safety: Food

We’re sure your pet is very interested in what’s being served on the table at most mealtimes, but here’s what to be aware of when it comes to the traditional Thanksgiving feast…

Candies & Chocolate

At Thanksgiving, chocolate and candies almost certainly make an appearance but these can be dangerous for pets to consume. All types of chocolate – particularly dark – can be lethal. Chocolate poisoning has some obvious symptoms, so if you notice your dog vomiting, experiencing diarrhea, seizures, an increased rate of breathing, or a fast heart rate, seek out a vet as soon as you’re able.

Candies also typically contain an artificial sweetener called xylitol which is also poisonous. Even a very small amount of the sweetener can cause lots of health issues for your dog including seizures and sudden lack of coordination. The best thing you can do is make sure that these food are not available to your fur baby and know the symptoms if a human treat were to get into their paws…

Breads, Pies & Cakes

Raw bread dough, for both cats and dogs, can be life-threatening. The yeast will continue to work at turning the dough’s sugars into carbon dioxide in their gut, so make sure to keep their curious noses away from the mixing bowl! The same goes for raw eggs and xylitol (the sweetener found in candy and some peanut butter brands!).

In regards to the infamous pumpkin pie on Turkey Day, whilst small amounts of cooked pumpkin are completely safe (and even have some health benefits!), consuming uncooked pumpkin can cause some serious health issues for your pup. Gastrointestinal problems can occur and may cause an intestinal blockage if large pieces of uncooked pumpkin are eaten. Also, tinned pumpkin can have loads of additives, so if you do want to allow your furry friend a little pumpkin, make sure it’s fresh and cooked!

Common cake ingredients that are incredibly toxic for dogs, in addition to the above, include cherries, cocoa powder, apple pips, grapes, raisins, avocados, coffee, and macadamia nuts. If your dog consumes any of these, be sure they get to your vet stat as some of these ingredients in large quantities can be lethal.

Turkey & Other Animal Bones

A small amount of boneless, well-cooked turkey for your pup on Thanksgiving is just fine! But, turkey skin can be tricky for them to digest, and letting them gnaw on the carcass bones can cause injuries to their digestive tracts. So, just treat them to the actual meat!

Petlab Co. Pro Tip: Make sure the turkey meat you do feed your dog is cooked properly. Raw meat can contain salmonella bacteria which may make your pooch very unwell.

Related Reads

Why Is Chocolate So Toxic For Dogs?
5 Common Foods That Can Be Fatal For Your Dog
How To Make A Cake For Your Dog!

6 Delicious Homemade Holiday Treats For Your Pup

small black and white dog laying on the ground

Thanksgiving Pet Safety: Decorations

So, pumpkins (if cooked) and decorative corn aren’t toxic for your furry pal, but ingesting too much can cause an upset stomach.

Candles can also easily be knocked over by curious kitties and excited pups, and small decorations have the potential to become choking hazards, so, keep them out of reach.

You may be a household who enjoys a flamboyant, festively floral centerpiece on their Thanksgiving table. It’s good to be aware of the plants that may be used in these that are toxic to cats and dogs: Chrysanthemum, Oak Tree Acorns, and Autumn Crocus.

If you suspect your dog to have consumed a poisonous plant, substance, or food, always contact your vet as a matter of emergency.

Do you use the long Thanksgiving weekend to put your Christmas decorations up? Why not read our blog on How To Help Your Dog Prepare For Christmas Celebrations here?

Thanksgiving Pet Safety: Traveling

If you’re traveling to spend Thanksgiving with loved ones who live elsewhere, whether or not you should bring your pet depends on many things including your mode of transport, where you’ll stay, and how happy your pet is when traveling.

If you’re crossing state or international borders, some places require health certificates amongst other things, so do your research well in advance.

Wherever you venture too, always take a copy of their medical records, and source the contact details of the nearest emergency veterinarian to your new location, making a note of their holiday hours. In addition, your dog should always have proper identification on their collar and although not legally required, microchipping them is definitely recommended.

It may also be worth traveling with a pet-first aid kit, just in case anything were to go awry!

Read our blog on How To Prepare Your Dog For Travel here.

Thanksgiving Pet Safety: Hosting Guests

Having guests come and stay over the holiday weekend can induce nerves, shyness, or excitement in your pets. If your furry friend seems nervous, try settling them in a quiet room with plenty of water, their bed, familiar smelling blankets, and toys.

Petlab Co. Pro Tip: Have many guests coming and going? Watch that door! Excitable pets may try bounding out and getting lost! Keep their collar on over the weekend if they don’t usually wear it when in the house.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our Petlab Co. Customers!

Related Reads

10 Thoughtful Ways To Prepare Your Dog For Christmas

6 Delicious Homemade Holiday Treats For Your Pup

How To Calm Your Dog This New Year’s Eve


Sarah Milton

Comes from a family of animal lovers and got to grow up with a menagerie of pets! I believe owning a pet is a privilege and I love researching and creating informative, fun content for fellow pet owners to help their furry friends have the happiest and healthiest lives. When I’m not writing blogs, you can find me sharing a walk with my pet dachshund or at a yoga class!

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