Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - 4:30pm

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.