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Thanksgiving Safety Kibbles & Bits for Service Dogs, Companion Animals & Pets

Thanksgiving inspires reflection on what we cherish. For those with service dogs, companion animals and/or pets, this includes an appreciation of feathered and furred loved ones. While focused on turkey legs, remember to stay attentive to the safety needs of four-legged companions! Here are animal-focused precautions for autumn’s gratitude gatherings:

  1. Bowwow buffet: Since some people foods are toxic for animals, consider sticking to a “no table food” approach, or giving seasonal made-for-pet treats. If you decide to offer Fido a Thanksgiving meal, plate a small amount of skinless, fully-cooked turkey with plain green beans. A lick of potatoes and pumpkin pie may be OK too, especially if dairy-free. Be mindful of potentially risky Thanksgiving ingredients, according to ASPCA, like nuts topping casseroles which may cause vomiting, diarrhea and pancreatitis in animals; onions, garlic and chives in mashed potatoes which may also cause gastrointestinal irritation, plus red blood cell damage and anemia; and chocolate, raisins and artificial sweeteners (xylitol) in some desserts which could result in abnormal heart rhythm, kidney failure and seizures.
  2. Canine clean up: Ensure that trash bins are snuggly shut to curb your pup’s temptation to dumpster dive for turkey carcasses. Raw meat, fatty bits (including skin) and bones pose risk of salmonella, digestion issues or worse. While you may be inclined to let the dishes sit to allow for more visitation with guests, do remove dirty baking dishes from the counter and sink and stow in the dishwasher. That’s because raw eggs and yeast in raw dough can lead to life-threatening complications for companion animals and pets.
  3. Hostess hound: Some floras are hazardous to animals, such as amaryllis, Baby’s Breath, hydrangeas, some ferns and Holly’s and more. When guests present a hostess gift, position flower vases out of animals’ reach.
  4. Festive firefighters (Dalmatians and all): You love seasonal scents, like apple cider, cinnamon and pumpkin spice; but fragrant candles can overwhelm pets’ senses and even ignite hazards. When your curious companion is near, use caution lighting candles, toasting marshmallows over an open fire or sipping cocoa beside a fire pit.

service dog in park 5. Tail-wagging time: The season’s time change means darkness comes earlier. Utilize a reflective collar on walks. And, while temperatures have cooled, pavements can still be hot on delicate paws.

6. Stray away: Hectic holiday celebrations often means frequent entering or existing. Stay aware of your animal’s access to doors and ensure that tag identifications and microchips are up-to-date.

7. Tyke travel: Holiday travel should include plans for companion animals and pets too. Health certificates and therapy animal requirements vary by state and country. Of course, confirm that booked accommodations are pet-friendly. If boarding a pet, ask your veterinarian about the risk of canine flu and other concerns. Car-riding restraints like pet seat belts, carriers or barriers might be useful on road trips.

8. Furry fashion: If you love dressing your fur baby up, you might be eyeing a pilgrim or turkey costume for Thanksgiving. Animal attire should not be too snug or baggy, restrict mobility or breathing, or hinder the ability to go to the bathroom or communicate. Costumes should be free of choking hazards (i.e. beads, feathers, etc.).

If you suspect that your service dog, companion animal and/or pet has ingested a harmful ingredient, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. And yes, your animal is thankful for you too! All that tail-wagging and purring proves it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Feature image courtesy of Rover. A version of this article was originally published by Natural Awakenings.

Nancy DeVault
Nancy is the managing editor of AmeriDisability. She is an award-winning storyteller passionate about health and happiness.

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