Giving Thanks for Pet Safety: McLean Animal Hospital’s Guide to a Pet-Friendly Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude, delicious feasts, and gathering with loved ones. As you prepare for the holiday festivities, it’s important to remember that Thanksgiving can pose some unique challenges for your furry family members. At McLean Animal Hospital, we’re dedicated to ensuring the well-being of your pets, even during the holiday season. In this blog post, we’ll share tips and precautions to help you and your pets have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.

Cute cat relaxing on pumpkins and cozy sweaters. Adorable black and white kitty napping on pumpkins. Adoption concept. Happy Thanksgiving and Halloween. Pet and autumn season, slow living

  1. Keep the Feast for Humans: While it might be tempting to share your Thanksgiving meal with your pets, it’s best to stick to their regular pet food. Many of the dishes on the Thanksgiving table can be harmful to pets, including those rich in fats, spices, and certain ingredients like onions, garlic, and grapes.
  2. Avoid Bones: Turkey bones, particularly cooked bones, can splinter and cause choking hazards or damage your pet’s digestive tract. Ensure all bones are disposed of safely and out of your pet’s reach.
  3. Secure the Trash: After the feast, the trash can be a treasure trove of tempting smells for your pets. Make sure it’s securely covered or stored in a pet-proof container to prevent your furry friends from rummaging through it.
  4. Keep Decorations Safe: Thanksgiving often involves decorative items like candles, gourds, and cornucopias. Keep these out of your pet’s reach, as they may try to play with or chew on them, potentially causing harm.
  5. Give Pets Their Space: Thanksgiving gatherings can be busy and noisy, which can stress out some pets. Provide a quiet and comfortable space where your pet can retreat to if they need a break from the festivities.
  6. Watch for Escape Attempts: With guests coming and going, it’s easy for pets to slip out of open doors. Ensure your pet has proper identification and consider keeping them in a secure area if they are prone to running off.
  7. Safe and Festive Pet Treats: If you want to include your pet in the Thanksgiving celebration, offer them safe and pet-friendly treats or small portions of plain, cooked turkey. Avoid feeding them anything that may upset their stomach.
  8. Monitor Food Leftovers: Leftovers can be delicious but potentially harmful to your pets. Make sure all food items are properly stored and not accessible to your pets.
  9. Stay Mindful of Allergies: Some guests may have pet allergies, so consider keeping your pet in a separate area during dinner if necessary. Ensure your pet’s dander is cleaned from common gathering areas.
  10. Express Gratitude for Your Pet: Thanksgiving is a time to express gratitude, and there’s no better time to show your appreciation for your pet. Spend quality time with them, give them extra love and attention, and make them feel like a cherished part of your family.


Thanksgiving is a time for togetherness and celebration, and it can be a wonderful experience for your pets as well. By following these tips and precautions, you can ensure that your furry companions remain safe and healthy during the holiday festivities. At McLean Animal Hospital, we’re here to support you in keeping your pets happy and thriving year-round. If you have any concerns or need further advice on caring for your pets during Thanksgiving, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Wishing you and your pets a warm and joyous Thanksgiving filled with love and gratitude!