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Tips to Make Sure Your Pets Have a Happy Thanksgiving

Nov 19, 2012 12:51PM ● By Ryan Frisch

Cooked Turkey


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, perfectly centered in the heart of autumn.  Roasting platters, crackling fire, the promise of snow, gatherings with family and friends.  Our pets love the bonus time with their family, and join in the excitement of the season.  Let’s help them enjoy!


Ah, the turkey.  Our German Short Haired Pointer has good taste: he just loves free range turkey!  (Call us, we will tell you where we purchase ours.)

Absolutely share a small amount of lean turkey with your pet.  It is highly digestible, nutritious and delicious.  Eliminate ALL skin and bones before offering it to your pal and only offer it as a treat, not as a meal substitution.  If you fry your bird, please ensure your pet cannot access the oil, which is potentially life threatening.

Protect Your Bird!  Our pets are highly capable thieves.  Unattended, uncooked turkey is immensely attractive.  Potential Salmonella poisoning means that pets should not receive raw meat, turkey or otherwise.

Pets Begging

Rising Dough.  Yuuumm.  My husband loves to bake fresh bread and our kids devour the results.  However, rising dough can continue to expand in your pet’s stomach causing a critical emergency.  Dough smells delicious: please keep it far out of reach.

Also, there are several common ingredients which require caution: onion, garlic, raisins, grapes, chocolate; plus gum and sweets containing xylitol.  If your furry friend does ingest anything of concern, please call your veterinarian or call the ASPCA Hotline: 888.426.4435;  Prompt advice gives peace of mind and can minimize potential harm.


The turkey is cooked; the party is ready to eat!  Ensure tasty hazards such as tin foil, string and meat skewers are out of reach.  Close lids tightly on compost and trash.  While it will be greasy goodness to taste, it can be very harmful to their digestive system and overall health.


Dog with Kong

Prepare a turkey treat for your dog to eat while you are having your meal.  Stuff a Kong with white turkey meat and dried kibble.  Or if you are feeling ambitious, offer a few homemade goodies like these:

Simple and Yummy: Paws-atively Peanuty Crudité

Baby Carrots Apple Slices Natural Unsalted Creamy Peanut Butter

With a spoon or butter knife, spread a small amount of peanut butter onto each baby carrot and apple slice; arrange on a small plate.  Give one carrot and one apple slice to each pet.

Sweet Potato Dog Chews

Sweet Potato Dog Treats

1 or more Large Sweet Potatoes, washed & dried

  1. Preheat oven to 250° F
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Cut off one side of the sweet potato lengthwise, as close to the edge as possible. Cutting the side of the potato first allows you to then turn the potato onto this flat surface that you have just created.  Having a stable area to rest the potato will make it easier to cut the potato into slices.  Don't discard that first piece, it comes out just as yummy as the rest!
  4. Cut the rest of the potato into 1/3" slices, no smaller than 1/4".
  5. Place them on the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 3 hours, turning half way through.
  7. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Storing - Although these treats are dried, you will want to keep them in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.  You can freeze them for up to 4 months.

Also –  carrots, apples, green beans and peanut butter – yum! Please avoid dehydrated meat from China; this is a topic for another article but pass up these widely-marketed treats.


A tired dog is a good dog.  A good energetic walk before the day gets too far gone, mentally and physically stimulating, is as good for you as it is for your pet.  They’ll be more inclined to relax while you are cooking, entertaining and feasting – particularly if you give them their favorite toy to keep them busy.  Please remember, no kissing the porcupines and skunks!


Dog and Cat Sleeping

For cat, dog, rabbit, ferret, gerbil, rat and more – providing a sanctuary may be the most loving gesture you make on this wonderful holiday.  Settle them in a nice quiet spot where you can sneak away and visit as well!


If you are planning to travel with your pet, "know before you go".  Consult with your veterinarian and with informative websites.  We are big fans of an article written by the American Veterinary Medical Association ( which covers almost all aspects of pet travel.

The Upper Valley has vast resources of pet sitters, house sitters, dog and cat specific boarding facilities.  Your veterinarian, local feed and pet stores are strong resources for this information.

Our dogs, our cats, members of the family all.  Set a quiet spot, have the kids make some animal snacks.  While the turkey roasts, take the whole family for a morning romp in the woods, then feast, celebrate, enjoy: Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Article courtesy of Dr. Jennifer Lesser at the Norwich Regional Animal Hospital

Norwich Regional Animal Hospital - White River Junction VT

Norwich Regional Animal Hospital - White River Junction, VT

We are the Upper Valley’s fastest growing veterinary care provider. We pride ourselves on being client-centered while offering excellence in medical and surgical care. By choosing us you ... Read More » 


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