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ASPCA Tips for Planning a Pet-Friendly Thanksgiving Meal

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and while many families are busy planning holiday menus and preparing their homes for guests, it’s also important to keep our furry friends in mind while gearing up for the day’s festivities.

Many traditional Thanksgiving foods can be dangerous for our pets. Check out the following tips from ASPCA experts for a fulfilling Thanksgiving that your pets can enjoy, too.

Beware of the bird. If you decide to share a little nibble of turkey with your pet, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don’t offer her raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria.

Take this sage advice. While sage can be a tasty addition to your Thanksgiving stuffing, it and many other herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils.

Use caution when baking. Raw bread dough, raw eggs, chocolate, raisins, and macadamia nuts all pose dangers to pets. When animals ingest raw bread dough, their body heat causes the dough to rise in their stomach. As it expands, pets may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain, and bloating—which could become a life-threatening emergency. Raw eggs may contain salmonella bacteria.

Watch that waistline. Many of us overindulge at the Thanksgiving table, but when our pets do, it can cause diarrhea, upset stomach, or even pancreatitis. While it’s ok to share a few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato, or even a lick of pumpkin pie with your furry friends, it’s best to keep pets on their normal diets during the holidays.

Play it safe. If your dog or cat consumes any potentially harmful foods or products, please consult your veterinarian or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 and

For more safety tips for pets, please visit the ASPCA’s Pet Care section.

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