Texas Tech University

RaiderVet Expert Corner: Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Pet Owners

Weston Brooks

November 13, 2023

Thanksgiving Tips

This School of Veterinary Medicine professor reminds us of a few tips to keep your pets safe during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Friends, family, food, fellowship and so much more is what makes Thanksgiving so special. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we can't forget about some of the hazards it may have for our pets.

Antu Radhakrishnan, professor of small animal internal medicine at Texas Tech University's School of Veterinary Medicine, has some great reminders to keep your pets healthy and safe during the holiday. 

Tip #1: Food Health Risks 

Higher fat content, bones, and chocolate are just a few examples of health risks for our animals. Gastroenteritis, pancreatitis, obstruction, intestinal perforation, and toxicity are potential consequences of eating some of our typical Thanksgiving foods. Resist the temptation to share your meal with your pet and make sure they are unable to access it, either on the table or in the trash. If your pet ingests anything, you should call your local veterinarian or emergency clinic as well as consult with a veterinary toxicologist at ASPCA Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) or Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661).

Tip #2: Parties and Guests

Pets are often very excited for visitors, but this can also cause stress. Pets can become shy, anxious, or agitated. People unfamiliar with pets, or with your house rules, may forget to close an interior door to a room or leave an exterior door open for too long which can result in a pet escaping or going into an off-limits room. Also keep in mind any humans that could have adverse reactions to pet exposure, such as those with allergies and immunocompromised individuals, should take appropriate precautions.

Tip #3: Decorations

Decorations are fun and create a celebratory ambiance. However, curious pets can get into trouble with their attraction to decorations. Make sure decorations are pet-friendly or out of reach, and never leave a lit candle in a room without a human present.

Tip #4: Travel

Travelling with your pet can be a very special experience. It is one that requires different preparation compared to humans. Your pet may need a health certificate from your veterinarian, special safety restraints when travelling by car or air, and potentially help with handling stress and anxiety during travel. Be sure to pack medications, food, bedding and other pet related items and consider how you will manage times when your pet cannot be with you.

We hope these tips will keep you and your pets safe and fulfilled this holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!