Tips for a Pet-Safe Thanksgiving Holiday

It’s almost time for Thanksgiving and the official kick-off of the 2017 holiday season. Whether you’re traveling or hosting dinner locally, the logistics of Thanksgiving can be a little more challenging when you have a pet. Taking a few minutes to review safety tips now is the best way to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable holiday, including your pets.

Traveling with Pets for Thanksgiving
If you plan to travel outside of Minnesota or out of the country, remember that your pet needs a health certificate signed by your veterinarian. We encourage you to schedule an appointment at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo now if you know you will be traveling with your pet. Our staff will ensure that she’s up-to-date on vaccinations and generally well enough to travel. Thanksgiving Holiday

When traveling by car, be sure to restrain your pet for the entire trip. Not only is it a safety hazard to have an animal walking around freely in the vehicle, your pet will feel more secure when restrained. Remember not to leave your dog or cat in a car alone, not even for a few minutes. As you pack for the trip, be sure to include your pet’s regular food as well as toys, blankets, medications, and other supplies. 

If your holiday plans include staying with friends or family, make sure they’re okay with you bringing along your pet. Someone in the family could have animal allergies, feel anxious around dogs or cats, or simply prefer not to be with them. As a guest in someone’s home, it’s important to respect your host’s wishes and board your pet if necessary.

Thanksgiving Pet Safety When You’re the Host
Having extra people in the house can be stressful for your pet, which could cause him to act in unexpected ways. You might want to consider keeping your pet in a kennel or another room with the door closed while people eat their meal. This will prevent begging for food or unexpected aggressive behavior. It’s also a good idea to keep your pet away from the front door as people arrive. The excitement of the day could cause him to run out the front door and become lost.

Many foods and treats associated with Thanksgiving simply aren’t safe for house pets. Some of these include:

  • Turkey, turkey skin, and small bones
  • Bread dough and yeast
  • Onions
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Chocolate
  • Artificial sweetener

These foods can cause symptoms ranging from bloating and gas to seizures and shortness of breath. If you notice that anyone has dropped food on the floor, pick it up and throw it away before your pet can get to it. Additionally, keep an eye on the garbage can. The smells of forbidden foods may be too much for your pet to resist and you could find the contents of your garbage spilled all over the floor.

If you choose to decorate at Thanksgiving, keep in mind that several plants are toxic to dogs and cats if ingested. The most common offenders include ferns, hydrangeas, baby’s breath, and amaryllis. Avoid buying these plants if possible or at least put them in a location your pet can’t access.

Emergency Contact Information
Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo will be closed on Thursday, November 23 for Thanksgiving. You may contact one of the following 24-hour facilities if you do experience an emergency with your pet:

  • After Hours Veterinary Care, St. Paul: 651-487-3255
  • Animal Emergency & Referral Center, Oakdale: 651-501-3766
  • Animal Emergency & Referral Center, St. Paul: 651-293-1800

We wish you a safe and happy holiday!

Image credit: IrisImages | iStock / Getty Images Plus


After-Hours Emergencies

After Hours Veterinary Care
1014 Dale Street North
St. Paul, MN 55117
(Inside Como Park Animal Hospital just north of downtown St. Paul)
24-hour care for multiple species

Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1163 Helmo Avenue N
Oakdale, MN 55128


Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1542 7th St. W.
St. Paul, MN 55012
(located 2 blocks east of 35E)