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November 18, 2022

Keep pets safe on Thanksgiving

Nonprofit veterinary clinic offers tips to keep pets safe on Thanksgiving

Clay Humane Society urges animal owners to keep sweets, oil, and turkey bones out of reach when celebrating on November 25.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year to gather with family and friends.  Clay Humane, a nonprofit animal clinic located in Orange Park, encourages families to celebrate with human and furry family members safely. The clinic provides pet parents guidance on keeping their fur babies stay happy and healthy on Nov. 25.  

"Though Thanksgiving may be wonderful for the family to enjoy, we still must consider how festivities might affect our animals,” explains Dr. Christian Broadhurst, senior staff veterinarian at Clay Humane. "If you follow simple protection procedures, you can help keep your fur babies comfortable and safe this holiday."

Broadhurst suggests:

  1. Avoid using candles: Candles are beautiful and help set a great atmosphere for celebrating with family and friends. However, they pose a threat to pets. Curious puppies and kittens may burn their noses, tails or paws on lit candles. They can also knock over candles and cause house fires. Use faux candles or string lights to decorate as a safer alternative to flame candles.
  2. Hide the oil and guard the grill:  Fried turkey is a common Thanksgiving dish that requires a lot of hot oil to cook. This oil gets very hot and stays hot for a very long time. Interested kittens or puppies may try to smell or lick the grease or the hot fryer which can lead to severe burns. When frying is over, take the fryer and the oil outside and out of reach of pets. Grills also stay hot for very long periods. Yummy smells may entice animals to explore. Animals can easily burn noses and paws. Once grilling is over, close or cover the grill to keep pets away.
  3. Watch for dropped foods: Many of the foods that we enjoy on Thanksgiving are toxic to pets. Garlic, grapes, onions and some citrus fruits can cause severe stomach issues for both cats and dogs. When preparing foods or cleaning up leftovers, make sure all dropped foods are picked up immediately.
  4. No table scraps, sorry: Animals love fatty and salty human snacks, but many of the holiday dishes we enjoy are hazardous for pets. Do not offer animals bones or any table scraps. Bones can damage the mouth, throat, stomach or intestines of pets. At the end of the celebration, package up leftovers and refrigerate immediately to prevent pet injuries.
  5. No sweet treats for Fluffy or Fido: Cookies, pies and cakes top off a great meal and should only be enjoyed by human guests. Do not offer cats and dogs any sweet treats meant for human consumption. Most candies, including chocolate and those containing xylitol (an artificial sweetener), are lethal to animals. When ingested in significant amounts, chocolate can cause heart attacks, seizures, internal bleeding, muscle tremors or an irregular heartbeat. The tiniest amount of xylitol can cause liver damage, low blood sugar, seizures or death in pets. Buy and offer treats meant for animals.
  6. Watch the flowers: Flowers make great home décor for the holidays but can be dangerous to pets. Poinsettias, lilies, azaleas and tulips are poisonous if consumed.  Some plants and flowers come with seeds. These seeds are also toxic to animals if eaten. Place all flowers and greenery out of reach of both cats and dogs.
  7. Collars and tags are a must: The music, partying and football commotion may stress out your pet Give your furry friend a safe and quiet place to rest and make sure all animals are wearing a collar and tag. The stress of the holiday celebration may cause your pet to flee. If your pet goes missing during Thanksgiving, proper and accurate identification is critical for finding your animal. Make sure your dogs and cats are wearing a tag with their names, your name and your phone number. Ensure your pet is microchipped in case the collar falls off.
“By taking a little extra care, you, your family, your friends and your pets can enjoy a great celebration on Nov. 25,” said Broadhurst. “Have a happy Thanksgiving and remember to call an emergency veterinarian should your pet need one.”

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