Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Pets

November 1, 2023

Thanksgiving is a time for families and friends to gather around delicious food and express gratitude for the blessings in life. Pet owners may want to include their furry friends in quality time throughout the special day, but it’s important to make sure they’re kept on a tight leash and away from harmful table scraps.

The Humane Society of Missouri offers these easy-as-pie tips to help keep dogs, cats and other four-legged friends safe this Thanksgiving:

Avoid New/Abnormal Foods

Avoid feeding your pet anything they are not used to eating, even if it falls in the same food group as something they are used to. For example, even if your pet is accustomed to eating chicken, turkey could still make them sick. Other popular Thanksgiving foods you should avoid feeding pets include:

    • Poultry and ham bones. Chicken and turkey bones are hollow and shatter easily, which can cause little shards to get caught in your pet’s throat or stomach. Ham bones usually have a lot of salt, which could give your pet an upset stomach.
    • Fat drippings from your turkey pan. These are too much for your pet to handle and they should not be poured over their usual pet food as an added treat.
    • Pumpkin. It is a natural stool softener for dogs and cats and can cause diarrhea.

Make Sure Everyone is on the Same Page

Inform your guests of the rules when they arrive so they aren’t trying to get on your pet’s good side through food. Instead, have them hand your pet one of their usual treats to help them get acquainted.

Secure your Leftovers

Make sure to secure your garbage when the meal is finished so your pet doesn’t gobble up all of those leftovers while you are taking your post-turkey nap!


There are easy ways to keep Thanksgiving festive for your pet without sharing table scraps. Serve their usual food in a special holiday dish, let them wear a festive sweater, or buy seasonal dog treats and toys, all available at the Humane Society of Missouri gift shops.

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