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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My dogs love it when the house is full of family and friends. All the noise of people laughing and talking. They like the smell of all the food cooking. They get excited when the kids come over. They also get a special dinner of turkey, potatoes and green vegetables. I have to keep an eye on them because everybody wants to give them a little treat.


Does anyone have a safe turkey recipe fit for pets? Just omit the onion???


I agree with Ellen. Some of the worst animal cruelty is to poultry. I am pulling my monthly donation & will donate to an organization that loves all animals.

Turkeys are debeaked, detoed, artifically inseminated because we have bred them to be so large they cannot breed on their own.


why are you annonymous? Say what you believe and stand behind it with your name chikipooo


Mark--- absolutely true. I had problems typing my comment on my iphone. Didn't mean to be unknown.

Pat Volk

I agree-I thought highly of this organization. This is outrageous.


I have a 90 pound Staffordshire Terrier and a 95 Pit Bull Terrier. Three Thanksgivings ago a had prepared my organic turkey and meal and had to leave to pick up my in laws at the airport. The oven was too hot so a left the cooked turkey in a closed cooker on the back of the stove. When I returned my dogs ran to hide when I opened the door and upon entering the kitchen I found a turkey carcass and two dogs with greasy mouths. They managed to pull the cooker on the floor and had a ball. We had omelets that day. It is funny now but I was pretty mad at them then. They had never before tried to get any food from the stove or table but I imagine that was too much of a temptation.


So called humans are cruel and inhuman to all anamils. Take dogs for instance, dogs contribute so much to humans and what do the phoney dog lovers do to reword them. They mutilate their little bodys by sterilizing them. There was an add running on TV where a cow tripped a purse snatcher and a ckicken helped a guy choking on a grape. To reword them they made a hamgurger out of the cow and a chicken dinner out of the chicken. That is a good example of how a lot of humans think.


OMG! I totally agree with Ashlie! This is the ASPCA site; not PETA! I come here to search for ways to enrich and safe-guard my pets life; not listen to rants about things that belong on other sites such as PETA! If you have something CONSTRUCTIVE to add about PET SAFETY; I'd love to hear it! If you just want to rant, go rant on the appropriate page!

Mary said it best: "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."


is it okay to give my dog hot dogs as she loves them