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Pet Parent Thanksgiving Tips courtesy of LASPCA

Pet Parent Tips for Thanksgiving courtesy of LASPCA
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, most of us are guilty of giving our furry friends a taste or two of our Thanksgiving feasts intentionally or accidentally. It is important to remember the 10% rule when sharing your Thanksgiving Feast with your pet. Only about 10% of your pet’s daily calories should come from treats. A small amount of cooked ham or turkey or mashed potatoes shouldn’t put your pet’s health at risk, but we need to be sure our pets don’t overindulge on these tasty menu items.

• Cooked turkey can be a wonderful lean protein to share with your furry friend. Stay away from feeding your pet any uncooked scraps of meat as it can cause stomach issues and salmonella. Be sure to remove any excess skin or fat, stick with white meat, and be sure to remove all bones. The bones can cause serious harm to your pet’s digestive tract.

• Plain green beans also make a wonderful treat for pets. Be sure to give them the extra green beans before you prepare the casserole to avoid any excess salt or fat in their diet. Any fresh vegetables make a great addition to any diet.

• Another great treat for your pet is cooked potatoes. This is a filling snack that has lots of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to your pet in small doses. We recommend only giving them a small portion on a plate. Although cooked potatoes are not harmful to your pet, be careful of additional ingredients used to make mashed potatoes.

Although these Thanksgiving staples are okay for your pet to eat in small portions, other common Thanksgiving ingredients can be extremely toxic to your pets. Onion and garlic are ingredients commonly found in Thanksgiving recipes that are harmful to your pet, even a small amount can cause intestinal problems and even damage their blood cells. When it comes to sweet treats during your Thanksgiving feast, humans enjoy a multitude of dessert items that are toxic to pets.

• Remember that chocolate is extremely harmful to your pets. They may attempt to sniff it out or eat it but even a small amount of chocolate can severely harm your pet.

• When preparing your Thanksgiving pie, avoid feeding your pet any raw or undercooked crust. The raw egg can cause harmful effects and could even give them salmonella.

• You should also avoid giving your pet any bread dough, the yeast in the dough can continue to grow inside their stomachs causing distress.

• While there are many sweet Thanksgiving treats that are harmful to your pet, cranberry sauce can be a tasty treat you can share with your pet but be mindful of the amount of sugar in it. The best way to share it with your pet would be to provide a small helping to your pet’s plate or let them lick your spoon.

• Pumpkin also makes a great sweet treat for your pet. Plain canned pumpkin provides your pet with healthy fiber, and vitamins to enhance their skin and coat. To limit their sugar intake, take a small portion of canned pumpkin out before mixing it into pumpkin pie filling to avoid extra sugar.

While we often talk about the hazards of holiday food or candy can pose for our pets, don’t forget about the alcoholic beverages. A small amount of alcohol has the potential to kill a small cat or dog. When sharing alcoholic beverages with friends and family, be sure to keep them put away and out of reach for your pet.

In general, a small taste of your Thanksgiving feast shouldn’t cause severe harm, but all of these items should be served to your pet in moderation. Having too much of any of these foods can cause your pet intestinal problems, stomach upset or pancreatitis. The best way to share the love with your pet this Thanksgiving is to only share pet friendly treats with them like plain fruits or vegetables. It is best to only give them a small portion on a plate or in their bowl and be sure to monitor them after consuming these tasty snacks. If your pet does happen to eat something they shouldn’t, be sure to watch for signs of distress like vomiting or lethargy. While your normal vet office might be closed on Thanksgiving, there are several 24-hour emergency vet clinics. Please note the Louisiana SPCA Community Clinic is not an emergency clinic. For more information about pet safety tips this holiday season visit,

The holidays are also a time for getting together with friends and family. Keep in mind that these people may be strangers to your pet and having visitors may upset them. If you know your pet is not fond of meeting new people, be sure to prepare a safe space for them like a crate with their favorite toy or a room away from your guests. This will help to reduce any stress your pet may have as well as avoid any possible injury to your guests. It is also important to ensure any doors are not left open. Even if your pet is comfortable around guests, the commotion of your Thanksgiving festivities could cause your pet to get out when no one is looking. It is important to be sure your pet’s microchip information is updated and accurate. This is the fastest and easiest way to be reunited with your pet if they were to get out.

Thanksgiving is also a time for traveling to see friends or family. Whether your pet is coming along for the trip or staying at home there are precautions to take either way. When taking any type of trip with your pet, remember to pack things for them as well. It’s important to pack things such as their medical records, food, and any medications they may need. If you plan to travel out of state your pet will need a health certificate from your veterinarian. If visiting friends and family means taking your pet on a road trip, remember to never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle, no matter the temperature outside. Even being left in the car for a few minutes can cause significant risk for your pet. If your holiday plans require a flight, check with your veterinarian about the risks for your pet specifically. No matter how you plan to travel with your pet, ensure you think about packing any and everything they may need and always check with your veterinarian before bringing your pet along for your holiday fun.