It’s Turkey Time! Check Out Our Thanksgiving Pet Safety Tips

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - 4:30pm
Grey terrier sits by dinner plate and pumpkins

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and it’s a great occasion to have your family join you in the kitchen for a fun day of food prep. When the enticing aromas of food start wafting through your house, it’s likely that your pets will want to get in on the action. However, the hectic environment in the kitchen on this food-filled holiday poses some potential health risks for your pets. Remember these safety tips as you whip up the perfect batch of mashed potatoes and gravy:

Let’s talk turkey: If you decide to give your pet a nibble of your Thanksgiving turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked—no raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria.

Sage advice: While sage can be a delicious addition to your Thanksgiving stuffing, it and many other herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression in pets. Cats are especially sensitive.

Doughy dangers: When an animal ingests raw bread dough, his body heat causes the dough to rise in his stomach. Ouch! This may cause vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency. Cake batters made with raw eggs are also dangerous to pets.

Portion control, please: While it’s ok to share a bit of well-cooked turkey with your furry friend, it’s best to stick to your pet’s regular diet during the holidays. Allowing your pets to over indulge could cause stomach upset, diarrhea or pancreatitis.

To avoid potential kitchen dangers, it’s a good idea let your furry friends hang out in a quiet room away from the kitchen until all the food prep is finished. As a reward, consider fixing your pets some special holiday treats. Try our recipes for pumpkin pie stuffing and pumpkin pie cookies for cats and dogs!

For a full list of Thanksgiving safety tips, check out our Pet Care section.

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How sad (and what a severe disconnect)! Giving thanks over an inhumanely slaughtered animal...especially on an animal welfare website. Shame shame shame on you ASPCA.




I think turkeys are slaughtered just like chickens. Off with the head quickly and it's over. Not a nice thought, but it's quick and if there is pain, it's only for a brief second. Enjoy your bird and don't flip me the bird.


Death may come quickly for turkeys but life for them is brutal, short and in filthy, inhumane unnatural conditions on factory farms. Wake up and smell the giblets! I will prepare a vegan feast featuring Tofurkey (very tasty) and stuffing with Field Roast grain sausages. Thanksgiving is a day of gratitude, not slaughter and death.

Susan G.

PLEASE!!!! The ASPCA is constantly e-mailing us to write to our congressman to help pass humane laws. This is the way to go. If you want to be a vegetarian, so be it, but the truth of the matter is that we are omnivours - we need meat and vegetables, fruit, etc. Not eating meat (this is passive) doesn't stop corrupt, greedy corporations from doing unspeakable things to animals. Get up, find out what's going on, write your congressman, vote, go with the ASPCA to wall street (this is active), and PLEASE ENJOY THANKSGIVING - INCLUDING A GREAT TURKEY DINNER! Also, do not judge others!


Before over-reacting, keep in mind the ASPCA never encouraged anyone to go out and torture a turkey. They are simply giving advice on how to keep the pets in your home safe if you so choose to serve turkey like most Americans. I'm a vegetarian and agree with the cruelty, but don't think we need to attack the ASPCA for trying to keep our dogs and cats safe on Thanksgiving.

Pat volk

ASPCA-Ameircan Society for the Protection of Some Animals. I though hgihly of this organization.I watched a video of a turkey being slaughtered. Hung upside down, throat slit and weighted and a lot of wing flapping. I am flabbergasted and agree with Ellen.I stopped supporting animal welfare organizations if they served animals at their fund raisers. I am aghast.You cannot be a society to prevent cruelty and advocate killing and eating a turkey, tradition be gone.

Pat P.

I think any animal organization should promote a vegan diet. I too have seen film on how animals are treated before slaughter


This is ASPCA....NOT twit. If you are going start a rant about the slaughter of inncoent turkeys go do it a website that involves that subject. Not here.


My dogs do get some turkey, mashed potatoes and green vegetables like peas or
French beans and they love it.!!