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Thanksgiving is a special holiday that brings together family and friends, but it also can create some hazards for pets. Holiday food needs to be kept away from pets, and pet owners who travel during the festivities need to either transport their pets safely or find safe accommodations for them at home. The staff at River Mill Animal Hospital recommends following these tips to help keep your pets healthy and safe during the holiday. 

Keep the feast on the table - not under it. Overindulging in the family feast can be unhealthy for humans, but even worse for pets. Fatty foods are hard to digest and bones can damage your pet's digestive tract. Eating turkey or turkey skin can cause a life-threatening condition known as pancreatitis, symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and lethargy. Many types of food that are healthy are poisonous to pets, including onions, raisins and grapes. If you want to share a Thanksgiving treat with your pet, make or buy a treat that is made safe for pets. 

No desserts for your pet! Chocolate is harmful for pets. The artificial sweetener called Xylitol, commonly used in gum and sugar-free baked goods, is deadly if consumed by dogs or cats.

Yeast dough can cause problems for pets, including painful gas and potentially dangerous bloating.

Hide the trash from your pets. A turkey carcass sitting out on the carving table, or left an open trash container, could be deadly to your family pet. Dispose of turkey carcass and bones, including anything used to wrap or tie the meat, such as strings, bags and packaging in a covered, tightly secured trash bag placed in a closed trash container outdoors. 

Be careful with plants and decorations. Don't forget that some flowers and festive plants can be toxic to pets. These include amaryllis, Baby's Breath, Sweet William, most ferns, hydrangeas and more. Special holiday displays or candles are attractive to pets. Therefore, never leave your pet alone with a lit candle. Pine cones, needles and other decorations can cause intestinal blockages or even perforate an animal's intestine if eaten.

Plan ahead with visitors. Some pets are shy or easily excitable around new people or in crowds, and Thanksgiving means many visitors at once. If you know your dog or cat is nervous when people visit your home, put them in another room or a crate with a toy. This will reduce the stress on your pet and protect your guest from possible injury. 

Be aware of the doors opening. Even if your pet is comfortable around guest, make sure to watch them closely, especially when people are entering or leaving your home. Make sure your pet has the proper identification with your current contact information and an up-to-date microchip registered information to ensure a safe return home.

When traveling with your pets, never leave them alone in vehicles, even for a short time. Pets should always be safely restrained in vehicles. This means using a secure harness or a carrier, places in a location clear of airbags. This helps protect your pet if you brake or swerve suddenly, or get in an accident, preventing them from causing dangerous distractions for the driver.

Pack for your pet as well. If you are traveling together, remember in addition to your pet's food and medication, bring medical records and information to help identify your pet if it becomes lost. 

Don't forget to remember food safety! Food borne illnesses occur while cooking every day. Washing hands and safe food handling and preparations are important to make sure your holiday is a happy one!

From the staff at River Mill Animal Hospital, we wish you a safe and Happy Thanksgiving! We are thankful for having wonderful clientele!! Please call us a 813-501-4985 if you have any questions or concerns with your pet's microchip information. 

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