Critter Corner: Dos and Don'ts for Pet Guests at Thanksgiving

Tips for you, your pet and guests.

A typical Thanksgiving gathering is no longer out of a Norman Rockwell painting: Family structure has changed, dietary preferences are accepted, and pets have often reached people status. No matter if you are the host or are going to visit, here are some tips to start the holiday season off on the right paw.



  • Ask before bringing your dog, and ask guests if they have allergies of might be wary of animals when inviting them to your gathering.  
  • With all the excitement, have a safe and quiet place set aside. If you are visiting take along a crate or a favorite blanket.    
  • When traveling be sure an I.D. tag is up to date and clearly visible.   
  • Bring a leash, poop bag, food/water bowl and regular food. A favorite chew toy can also be a bonus.   
  • Keep a close eye on children (and some adults) who might overexcite your pet. Youngsters might sneak up to the quiet area you've put your dog/cat and continue to play.   
  • Watch for table scraps from well-intentioned people. Of course it is hard to resist those soft eyes, but multiply a tablespoon of scraps from each guest and you'll have a mess in the living room in no time.   
  • Keep dogs and cats from jumping on people as well as near food preparation areas.

Safety-Do's and Dont's   

  • Don't feed turkey skin or fat (and make sure others know, too). Ingesting fat can cause pancreaitis in both in dogs and cats, which can be  deadly.
  • Do feed bits of cleaned turkey meat for dogs and chopped giblets for cats. Keep quantities limited to avoid accidents.  
  • Do keep trash secure and food far out of reach. If you have several four-footed guests one may nose open the cabinet, and the other steal the goodies! Turkey bones are irresistible — and deadly!   
  • Don't forget about securing trash outside.   
  • Do put a sweet potato or yam in to bake as a special treat. Feed limited quantities but most dogs and some cats adore this healthy snack.    
  • Don't feed pumpkin pie (which contains nutmeg), stuffing (with onions, mushrooms, sage, raisins, currents) or any citrus fruits/derivatives or chocolate, which are all toxins for dogs.    
  • Do keep an eye on doors. It's easy to get over excited and run out through an unlatched door.   
  • Do keep an eye out for candles, or substitute the battery variety.


Don't forget to have a good time with your best friend. Curl up on the couch and watch the NBC broadcast of the National Dog Show after the Macy's parade. A walk afterwards might not be a bad idea, it will help you make room for leftovers!


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