November is Pet Thanksgiving Day Safety

It's hard to believe Thanksgiving is just around the corner. The Thanksgiving holiday is such a special, festive time that many folks are already making their plans to spend time with family and friends. Because our beloved pets are also cherished friends and family members, it goes without saying that their safety and security is a high priority. Since there is still plenty of time, this really is the perfect opportunity to include your pets in your holiday game plan that will ensure that your Thanksgiving Day is truly a joyous occasion which won't turn into a pet-related disaster.

Jack (FloridaWild Patient)
With the Thanksgiving early morning preparations' hustle and bustle combined with the mouthwatering aromas of roast turkey, goose or ham starting to emanate from the kitchen wafting throughout the house, some pets may start to become a bit anxious or confused due to the drastic changes in their normal daily routines.

To help keep your pet’s emotional and physical well-being in mind, and to lessen holiday stress, I'd like to offer some great suggestions on how to make your Thanksgiving Day a huge success.

Most companion animals are extremely routine-oriented and have difficulty with the smallest changes in their daily routine. To help keep pets as calm as possible, monitor the front door carefully to avoid any tragic escapes. Keeping pets confined in a safe room a few hours before guests arrive is an excellent idea. Make the room as pet-friendly as possible by adding a few toys, their favorite bed and blanket, a scratching post and a cardboard box with a towel in which kitty can hide and of course, a litter box.

As far as kitties are concerned, observable signs of feline anxiety may include loss of appetite, hiding, pacing, excessive vocalizing and needy behavior. To help combat anxiety and alleviate stress, plug in a Feliway diffuser, or a few puffs around the room with the convenient Feliway spray. These products are available at Amazon.com or Chewy.com. Most cats respond well to soft classical music playing softly and reassure them by visiting them several times during the day.

If you wish to share your Thanksgiving bounty with your kitties, mixing in a few pieces of skinless, boneless turkey in with their regular cat food can make this treat more easily digestible. Under no circumstances however, allow them access to eating or playing with cooked bones. Cooked bones are brittle with sharp points and they are extremely dangerous.

Leo (FloridaWild Patient)
Although dogs are generally more sociable with people than cats, they too may become anxious and become overly protective when visitors arrive. Observable signs of canine anxiety may include panting, shaking, hiding and loss of appetite. To help prevent anxiety and to avoid any aggressive behavior, I'd advise leaving your dog in a secure room with the TV on or a radio broadcasting soft music. Adding a chew toy and a favorite bed and/or blanket can work wonders to help keep your canine companion a lot more mellow.

A house full of company and changes to their routine can drive even the calmest of birds batty. Observable signs of avian stress may include puffing up, heavy breathing, hanging out at the cage bottom, ruffled feathers, tail bobbing and loss of appetite. We suggest that pet birds should be caged outdoors (temperature and weather permitting) or in a quiet, safe room away from strangers. Just like dogs and cats, pet birds are extremely sensitive to burning smells, fragrant candles, the scent of flowers and plug in air fresheners. Excessive smoke from burning foods can cause serious respiratory problems in birds, or even death. To help prevent these life threatening reactions, we suggest avoid cooking in Teflon coated pans, and for proper ventilation to leave several windows cracked open.

In order to keep all of your pets a lot safer, before sharing your Thanksgiving Day bounty with them, check out this list of foods that are highly toxic or poisonous to cats, dogs and birds. And if you observe or suspect that your pet ingested a toxic substance contact an emergency veterinary clinic immediately, or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline. The hotline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 888-426-4435. Although there is a fee of $65 per case, this includes a follow up session with any further questions.

The staff at FloridaWild Veterinary Hospital wishes you and your pets a very happy and safe Thanksgiving. To celebrate Thanksgiving and to help alleviate pet stress and anxiety FloridaWild is offering 10% off on Vetri-Science Composure (either in liquid or soft chews). Composure’s ingredients work synergistically to support relaxation without changing your pet’s energy levels or personality. Additionally, The Funky Mutt Market is offering 10% collars and leashes.

By: Jo Singer, MSW, CSW, LCSW (Ret.)