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Thanksgiving Pet Safety Tips at Ark Animals

Learn pet safety tips for the Thanksgiving holiday. Animal behaviorist, Diana L. Guerrero offers a few humane holiday hints along with seasonal safety suggestions for pet households.

Animal Behaviorist Offers Pet Safety Tips For the Thanksgiving Holiday

Do you give in to cute pesky pets at the dinner table? This Thanksgiving holiday pet lovers are urged to resist the intense gazes and vocal demands of pleading pets. According to animal expert, Diana L. Guerrero. "There can be deadly consequences for animals during the holidays. Holiday threats to animals can include seasonal decorations, ornamental lighting, ingestion of inappropriate or toxic items, excessive consumption of rich foods or harmful food, candle flames, and many other hazards."

Guerrero is an animal behaviorist who writes columns on wild animal behavior, training, and animal etiquette. She is contributing editor to Resources for Crisis Management in Zoos and Other Animal Care Facilities and is the author of the holiday favorite, What Animals Can Teach Us about Spirituality: Inspiring Lessons of Wild and Tame Creatures.

Before you sit down to feast, Guerrero suggests you take away temptation-from both guests and pets. " If you feed pets before the guests arrive you reduce the temptation for begging and stealing. You can also use a pet gate or play pen to house the pet nearby, but provide a safety barrier."

One of the easiest ways to avoid trouble is to make sure your guests know the pet rules and discourage them from feeding critters scraps from the table. Guerrero said, "The best approach is to make sure any animal is occupied with a chewy or playmates in another room. Once the table is cleared, make sure pets cannot get to scraps or bones."

Guerrero said the biggest hazards to pets on Thanksgiving include:

  • Rich, fatty foods (turkey skins, gravy, etc,) can contribute to pancreatitis. This inflammation of the digestive gland is painful and can be serious--requiring emergency veterinary assistance.
  • Cooked bones can splinter and cause tears or obstruction in a pet's digestive tract.
  • Baking strings, if ingested, can create trouble if ingested by your pet.
  • Onions in holiday stuffing can lead to canine anemia if consumed by your dog.
  • Grapes and raisin toxins can cause kidney failure in pets.
  • Ingesting chocolate can kill your pet.
  • Caffeine and alcohol are also toxic for pets.
  • Keep all goodies out of reach!

"Preventative safety measures are the best strategies," states Guerrero, " Keep leftover food out of reach and in tightly closed containers. Make sure garbage cans are secure to keep critters so they are safe from e-coli and unable to chew on leftover tinfoil."

The animal behaviorist suggests that pet households plan on providing appropriate chew toys or food occupation devices for pets during holiday activities. "The Kong Company produces a goodie dispenser that keeps dogs occupied. They also have some great bird and cat toys that provide similar activity. Most pet stores carry these products. The investment and preparation can insure that you have a happy and healthy holiday."

Even so, it never hurts to keep your emergency vet clinic or veterinary hospital number handy. You never know when you will encounter a disaster due to a delinquent guest or persistent pet.


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