The do's and don'ts of celebrating Thanksgiving with your pet


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If our pets could talk, we think they’d be most thankful for table scraps. But throwing food off our plates during dinner to satiate our four-legged companions can often do more harm than good.

So while Thanksgiving may be an oh-so-tempting time to indulge our pets, think twice before tossing a turkey leg to the floor.

Here are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to celebrating Thanksgiving with our furry pals.

DO offer some turkey — but only if it's well cooked and boneless.

DON’T give your dogs cooked turkey bones, which are sharp and dangerous.

DO keep your pets sober. While alcohol and Thanksgiving mix very well, alcohol and animals not so much. If your pet has consumed alcohol, look out for drooling, retching, vomiting, distended stomach, elevated heart rate, weakness, collapse and hypotension, according to the Pet Poison Helpline. Alcohol consumption can also lead to coma, hypothermia and even death.

DON’T give them dishes covered in herbs, which contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal problems and central nervous system depression, according to the ASPCA. Be extra careful around cats, who are particularly sensitive to certain essential oils.

DO keep onions and garlic away. Any members of the onion family (shallots, onions, garlic, scallions, etc.) contain compounds that can damage dogs’ red blood cells. Exposure to concentrated forms of onion or garlic, such as onion soup mix or garlic powder, can give your dog toxicosis.

DON’T let them eat raw bread dough, which can rise in your pet’s stomach, causing vomiting, abdominal pain and bloating. And this goes for raw batter as well, which can contain salmonella bacteria.

DO give your dog lots of exercise on Thanksgiving. Keeping him cooped up inside all day while you cook equals a pup with too much energy, according to PetMD.

DON’T indulge them in chocolate, which is extremely toxic to your dogs. Use this Dog Chocolate Toxicity Meter from petMD, which will let you know how much theobromine and caffeine your dog has consumed and the symptoms you should expect.

DO keep the sharing to a minimum. Giving your pet a cornucopia of Thanksgiving fare — even pet-friendly food — could give your furry friend an upset stomach or even pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas, says the ASPCA. If you want to be extra cautious during the holiday — which is never a bad idea — keep your pet on his regular diet.

And if you’re really itching to include your dogs in the festivities, here are a few safe items you can give them, courtesy of WebVet.com:

  • White meat turkey without the skin

  • Plain baked or sweet potatoes without the skin

  • Plain steamed carrots, broccoli or string beans

  • Salt-free canned chicken broth

  • Plain canned pumpkin (not the pumpkin pie filling)

  • Sliced raw apples