Thanksgiving Pet Safety: 6 Tips to Ensure a Happy Holiday for Your Pets

Thanksgiving Pet Safety: 6 Tips to Ensure a Happy Holiday for Your Pets

Can you believe it? It seems the dog days of summer were just here, and now Thanksgiving is right around the corner! With yummy smells wafting through the kitchen, the sounds of football echoing from the TV, and the joyous feeling of having family and friends all gathered around, it’s one of our favorite holidays here at Sponsor A Pet.

But it isn’t just our human family we have to think about. Our furry family members need a little bit of extra attention during the holidays to ensure they’re happy and healthy.

We’ve put together a list to help you keep your fur babies in a festive mood and out of harm's way this holiday. Here are our top 6 tips on how you can ensure Thanksgiving pet safety at your house: 

Tip 1: What Thanksgiving Foods Can Dogs Eat?

Alright, dog lovers — we’ll start with you! Wondering what to sneak under the table for your pooch? Don’t spend your day desperately searching “Can dogs eat green bean casserole?” Stick to safe bets like:

  • Plain turkey meat (no skin or bones, please!)
  • Green beans
  • Apples (avoid the seeds  — they’re toxic!)
  • Plain sweet or white potatoes
  • Peas 
  • Pumpkin (no pie filling though!)

Now that you know which foods Fido can have, which ones should you avoid? Skip fatty, heavily seasoned, buttered, and processed foods such as:

  • Turkey bones, skin, and gravy
  • Ham
  • Stuffing and casseroles
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Onions and garlic
  • Chocolate

As always, be sure to check with your veterinarian when introducing new foods to your doggo, and give everything in moderation. Only the turkey should be stuffed!

Tip 2: What Thanksgiving Foods Can Cats Eat?

Cat at Thanksgiving #sponsoracat

For our feline aficionados, your whiskered friends can join in too. The list doesn’t stray very far from what dogs can eat — a little plain turkey, cooked carrots, and a smidge of pumpkin can make a purr-fect feline feast. Again you should keep it simple and small - cats are not about that overeating life.

Tip 3: Create a Safe Space

Our pets are a lot like us — sometimes, they just need a little space to chill. Thanksgiving can be a sensory overload even for us humans, with all the chattering, laughter, the occasional clatter of kitchenware. For our fluffy friends, this can be downright overwhelming. But fear not, pet parents. Here’s how to create a peaceful retreat for your furry pals:

Choose the right location - Start by picking a spot in your home that's away from the main traffic areas. A spare room or that cozy corner in your bedroom works great. The key is distance from noise and crowds.

Make it familiar and comfortable - Pets love familiarity. Bring in their favorite blanket, bed, or a well-loved piece of your clothing. The scent of these familiar items can be incredibly calming to them. If your pet has a favorite crate, make it a part of their safe zone.

Include soothing elements - Consider adding features that can help soothe their nerves. Soft, calming music can mask loud noises from the party. There are even pet-specific playlists designed to relax our furry friends (Katy Purr-y anyone?)

For cats, a high perch or a cat tree can provide a sense of security, while dogs might appreciate a chew toy or a puzzle feeder to keep them engaged.

Keep them safe and secure - Ensure that the safe space is, well, safe. Remove any small objects that might be chewed or swallowed, and make sure there's no way for your pet to accidentally escape outdoors. 

Provide a gradual introduction - Let them explore and get comfortable with it in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. This way, it becomes a natural retreat for them.

Keep up with routine checks - Even though your pet is in a safe space, regular check-ins are important. Offer them a bathroom break or just some quiet cuddle time. It's your way of saying, "Hey, I'm here for you."

Inform your guests - Let your guests know about your pet's safe zone. A gentle reminder to give your pet space and not to disturb them can go a long way in keeping them calm.

Tip 4: Use Pet-Friendly Holiday Decorations

We all love sprucing up our space, but we also know how curious pets can be. That new leaf-laden centerpiece?  It might look stunning on your table, but to your cat or dog, it's an intriguing new toy to bat around or chew on.

Watch out for small, chewable items, toxic plants, and open flames. Our inquisitive pals have a knack for exploring, so it’s important to ensure there's nothing harmful within reach.

Happy couple at Thanksgiving with their #dog

Tip 5: Supervise Interactions with Guests

Mingling time! It's the heart of the Thanksgiving celebration, where friends and family come together.  But keep in mind, not all pets or guests know the dos and don’ts. So it's up to us to play the role of the mindful host to ensure everyone, including our pets, enjoys the festivities.

Brief your guests - Start by briefing your guests about your pet's personality and behavior. Is your dog a little shy? Does your cat not like being picked up? Sharing these details upfront can prevent misunderstandings and uncomfortable situations.

Children and pets - Kids can be overly enthusiastic with pets. It’s important to educate any little ones about how to interact with animals gently. Show them how to pet softly and explain why chasing or loud noises can scare them. Always supervise interactions between pets and children to avoid any mishaps.

Safe introductions - If your pet is comfortable around guests, introduce them slowly and in a controlled environment. Allow your pet to approach guests in their own time, and make sure your guests know how to calmly and non-threateningly interact with them.

Look for stress signals - Keep an eye on your pet for signs of stress or discomfort, such as excessive panting, hiding, growling, or a tucked tail. If you notice these signs, it’s time to give your pet a break in their safe space.

Control the environment - Sometimes, the excitement can be too much for our pets. If the party's getting loud or crowded, consider keeping your pet in their safe space with their favorite toys and treats. This can prevent overstimulation and ensure they feel secure.

Feeding etiquette - Advise your guests not to feed your pet without permission. As we discussed, human food can be harmful to pets, and it’s important to stick to their regular diet.

Reward Good Behavior - If your pet interacts well with guests, reward them. Positive reinforcement can encourage good behavior in the future.

Tip 6: Maintain a Routine Amidst Thanksgiving Chaos

In all the excitement, don't let your pet's routine slide. Regular meals and walks are comfort blankets for our four-legged friends. A happy pet is one that knows what to expect, even when the house is full.


There you have it – your blueprint for a pet-happy Thanksgiving. Thinking ahead and making a few necessary tweaks ensures everyone, furry or not, has a blast. Share your own Thanksgiving pet safety tips or stories below – we'd love to hear them!

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