Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and of course, food. Lots and lots of food. While humans might be able to resist the temptation to indulge in too many turkey-day treats, our pets often can’t. That’s why it’s important to be extra careful this holiday season and take steps to ensure your dog’s safety. Here are a few tips on how to do just that.

Keep Your Dog Away From Turkey

This Thanksgiving, make sure your dog enjoys the holiday just as much as you do – by keeping them away from the turkey! Sure, it may look tempting, but turkey is not safe for dogs to eat. The seasonings and garnishes can be dangerous for them, and even a small amount of turkey fat can cause digestive problems. In addition, bones can splinter and cause choking, digestive blockages, or even injuries.

Dogs can be notorious counter surfers, and they can easily snatch food off the counter when you’re not looking. Keep food out of reach of your dog. Consider keeping an eye on your counters, and covering any food that’s left out in the open, such as self-serve dishes.

If you want your dog to join the festivities, consider making them their own special Thanksgiving meal that’s safe and healthy. There are plenty of recipes online, or you can ask your veterinarian for suggestions.

Be Careful With Other Foods Too

Carved turkey may be the centerpiece of the meal, but don’t forget about other foods that are toxic to dogs, such as chocolate.

Most stuffing recipes contain onions, garlic, and other ingredients that can be toxic to dogs if consumed in large quantities. Furthermore, stuffing also contains grapes or raisins. These are known to be particularly harmful to dogs and can cause kidney failure. A little stuffing might not hurt your dog, it’s best to use caution and avoid giving them any at all.

Plain mashed potatoes shouldn’t pose any problems for your dog. If they are loaded with butter, salt, and other spices, they could give a dog an upset stomach – or worse. Rather than risk it, just give them a small spoonful of unseasoned mashed potatoes instead.

Make Sure Guests Know the Rules

One of the best things about Thanksgiving is spending time with family and friends. If you have a dog, it’s important to make sure your guests know not to feed them table scraps. Your guests may not be aware of the dangers of certain foods.

Explain which areas of the house are off-limits and where your dog will be spending most of this time. It is a good idea to give your guests, especially kids, a refresher on how to approach dogs. Children may not be used to being around dogs. Even the friendliest of dogs can get overwhelmed by too much attention.

Keep an Eye on the Door

Not only is Thanksgiving a time for feasting, but it’s also a time for coming and going as friends and family drop by throughout the day. It’s important to keep an eye on the door. Your dog may make a break for the door every time someone enters or exits the premises. The last thing you want is for your dog to get lost in the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving Day.

Have a Safe Place For Your Dog

an image of a dog sleeping in a wire dog crate

Thanksgiving is a busy time of year for many people, with lots of cooking, cleaning, and preparing to host family and friends. If you have a dog, it’s important to keep your dog safe during Thanksgiving. Dogs can get stressed out easily by loud noises and large groups of people, so it’s important to create a safe haven for them if they need a break from the action.

This can be as simple as setting up a dog bed in a quiet corner of the house or letting them stay in their crate if they feel more comfortable there.

Keep Your Dog Away From Trash & Leftovers

All that feasting can create a lot of garbage – and much of it can be tempting (and dangerous) for your dog. Things like chicken bones, foil wrappers, and moldy leftovers can all be dangerous if ingested by your dog. Foil wrappers can be dangerous if swallowed, as they can cause blockages in the intestines. Moldy leftovers can contain harmful toxins that can make your dog very sick. Make sure the garbage is always out of reach, or better yet, put it in a sealed garbage can that your dog can’t get into to help keep your dog safe during Thanksgiving.


This Thanksgiving, let’s all make a pledge to keep your pets safe. By following the tips above, you can help ensure that your dog has a happy and healthy holiday season.

If you’re looking for more ways to show your dog some love this Thanksgiving (or any day of the year), be sure to shop our wide selection of Petmate pet products. From food and water bowls to beds and toys, we have everything you need to spoil your pup rotten. Looking for more resources on how to take care of your four-legged friend? Check out the rest of our Petmate Academy blog for articles on everything from head to tail!

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