November 16, 2016

How to Have a Happy, Healthy and Humane Thanksgiving with Your Pets

Thanksgiving tips

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and while this food-filled holiday is a joyous time spent with family and friends, you don’t want to forget your furry family members. Though festive and fun, the holiday can pose some serious health risks to your pets. Not to mention, hectic grocery stores can leave shoppers frazzled, making it difficult to choose ingredients for holiday meals with higher animal-welfare standards in mind.

But not to worry! From your local market to the kitchen table and everything in between—we have you covered. Check out these tips to ensure a happy, more humane holiday, and help keep your pets safe this Thanksgiving.

Turkey-time treats.
We always recommend sticking to your pet’s regular diet during the holidays, but if you do decide to give your pup a nibble of your Thanksgiving turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Raw or undercooked turkey may contain salmonella bacteria, and poultry bones can be dangerous choking hazards. If you feel like treating your pet, try adding a few tasty bites of turkey, sweet potatoes and green beans to their usual dinner with a drizzle of gravy. You can even stuff the Thanksgiving treats in a puzzle toy to keep your pup occupied and content.

Mind the ingredients. 
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, especially cats. You’ll also want to be mindful of the sweets, and keep them out of paws’ reach.

Check out the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC)’s full list of ingredients and foods to be wary of to ensure that your pet is safe this Thanksgiving.

Don’t forget to take out the trash!
Throughout the day, be sure to empty your garbage more frequently than usual. Bones, chocolate, onions and other holiday fixtures are all hazardous to pets. While you may be busy perfecting your turkey, a curious pet might find its way towards a bag of trash. Be alert and avoid leaving any garbage around your furry friends.   

Pets need peace and quiet too.
 With the commotion of a full house, your pets might enjoy some extra quiet space while company is visiting. Set aside a few blankets on the floor or leave a bedroom door open to allow your pet some extra space to curl up and relax in.

Keep animal welfare in mind this Thanksgiving.
When it comes time to do your holiday food shopping, buy products that match your values. It can be difficult to make it out of stores in one piece during the holidays, never mind navigating the confusing labels found on animal-derived products! Not all labels are meaningful for animals, so if you plan to purchase meat, eggs or dairy this Thanksgiving, look for the certifications Certified Humane, Animal Welfare Approved and GAP (Steps 2+), which require third-party audits of farms and prohibit some of the worst forms of cruelty found on factory farms. Use our Shop With Your Heart Grocery List to cut through confusing marketing claims and find legitimately higher-welfare poultry products and plant-based alternatives at stores in your neighborhood.

Also, download the ASPCA’s Meat, Eggs and Dairy Label Guide for your convenience. We’ve got you covered with all of the facts this Thanksgiving. We’ve compiled some of the most common food labels and what they really mean for animals into this downloadable guide so you’ll be informed when you hit the grocery aisle.

Don’t be afraid to demand better. You have the power to demand more humanely raised products in your stores. This holiday season, you can impact which brands your grocery store carries. Let your grocery know that you want your choices to be certified to a higher standard—here are a few easy ways to engage with your local stores

For more ways you can be a conscientious shopper this holiday and every day, visit our Shop With Your Heart page.

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