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Thanksgiving Pet Safety

October 1, 2021

Thanksgiving is just a few days off now. Although many events will be cancelled, postponed, or downgraded this year, we know many people are still looking forward to enjoying some home-cooked food with their loved ones. If you’re hosting this year’s dinner, it’s probably safe to say that your pet will be right there with you, supervising your cooking, greeting guests, and generally getting underfoot. Read on for some great pet safety tips from a local Brampton, ON vet.


One of the bigger concerns with the autumn holiday–or any dinner–is unsafe foods. Many of our favorite dishes are toxic to pets. Don’t give your furry friend anything that contains or was seasoned with garlic, onions, scallions, or chives. Meat on the bone is also unsafe; as are raw dough and yeast; grapes, currants, and raisins; avocado; chocolate; caffeine; alcohol; and anything that contains xylitol. If you do want to make your pet a plate, stick with items you know are safe. Plain, cooked meat, fish, or poultry without the skin, bones, or fat is always a safe bet.


Hopefully this goes without saying, but your guests should never pose a threat to your furry pals. The issue here is more about possible mishaps, such as someone leaving a door open. Or, Fido may chew somebody’s shoes, or convince someone to offer something that isn’t safe, such as meat on the bone. Keep a close eye on your pets, and ask visitors not to feed them without permission.


If you know or suspect that some of your visitors may be allergic to pets, you’ll want to take a few extra steps to keep them comfortable. The day before your visitors arrive, thoroughly dust and vacuum your home. We also recommend getting a good air purifier. Remember to brush Fido and Fluffy, too. If it’s nice, dogs can be brushed outdoors, so the extra fur just blows away.


You want your furry friend to put their best paw forward. If you have a dog, walk and play with Fido before company arrives, so he’ll be a bit tired out … and therefore, calmer. As for Fluffy, well, try not to let her sleep on your guests’ coats or steal their chairs. Those antics are purr for the course with many kitties!

Our Advice on Thanksgiving Pet Safety in 2024

What common Thanksgiving foods are dangerous for pets?

Common Thanksgiving foods that are dangerous for pets include those containing garlic, onions, scallions, or chives, as these are toxic. Meat on the bone poses a choking hazard and can cause blockages. Raw dough and yeast can expand in a pet’s stomach, causing discomfort or more serious issues. Grapes, currants, raisins, and avocado are harmful and can lead to health complications. Chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, and anything with xylitol are also unsafe, as they can cause a range of toxic reactions in pets.

What can you do to help your dog behave well around guests?

To help your dog behave well around guests, engage in some proactive steps. Before your company arrives, take your dog for a walk or engage in playtime to help them expend energy and be calmer. Training commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “leave it” can also be beneficial in managing their behavior. Provide a quiet, comfortable space for your dog to retreat to if they become overwhelmed. Additionally, remind guests not to feed your dog without permission and keep doors and gates secured to prevent escapes. Consistent, gentle reinforcement of good behavior with treats and praise can encourage manners.

What if your pet does eat something unsafe?

If your pet consumes something unsafe, promptly assess the situation by identifying what was eaten, how much, and when. Immediately contact your veterinarian or an emergency pet poison hotline for specific advice. Do not induce vomiting unless instructed by a professional, as this can sometimes cause more harm. Keep your pet calm and monitor them closely for any signs of distress, such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or difficulty breathing. Quick action and professional guidance are crucial for minimizing potential harm and ensuring the best outcome for your pet.

How can you keep your dog occupied and away from the dinner table?

To keep your dog occupied and away from the dinner table, provide them with interactive toys or puzzle feeders that can engage their attention and offer mental stimulation. Consider setting up a comfortable and quiet space away from the dining area where your dog can relax, complete with their favorite bed, toys, and perhaps a piece of clothing with your scent for comfort. You might also give them a special chew or a Kong filled with their favorite treat to keep them happily distracted during meal times.

What if you don’t have a safe space to put your pet during the meal?

If you don’t have a designated safe space for your pet during the meal, consider using a leash or a pet gate to restrict their access to the dining area. You can also designate a quiet corner or a room away from the hustle and bustle of the mealtime activity. Alternatively, enlist the help of a trusted family member or friend to supervise your pet and ensure they stay away from potentially hazardous areas. It’s essential to prioritize your pet’s safety and well-being during holiday gatherings.

Enjoy your holiday! Contact us, your Brampton, ON animal clinic, for your pet’s veterinary care needs.