SPCA: Follow these tips to keep your pet safe this Thanksgiving

Pups like Zoey, pictured above, might look cute when they are begging for scraps, but some table food could be toxic.

In the midst of stuffing ourselves with turkey today, the Nassau and Suffolk Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are warning of the importance of keeping pets safe around the food and festivities.

Many people know that splintery turkey bones and chocolate should be kept far away from the family dog, but bread dough is also a potential health hazard to pets, whose stomachs can swell, causing severe abdominal pain.  Dark chocolate, in particular, is toxic to dogs, and may cause heart and central nervous system problems. Avocados can cause build-up of fluid in internal organs and heart damage in pets, and raisins and grapes can cause kidney damage and renal failure.

Onions and garlic can cause severe anemia in cats. The SPCAs advise families to keep all of these foods away from pets.

The Nassau SPCA also warns that pets can create a fiasco at the dinner table, particularly with large quantities of food and many more people gathered around the table than the usual family dinner. They are advising dog owners to crate their animals in a quiet section of the house with food and toys during the dinner hour. They also recommend boarding your pet if the commotion of the festivities is too much for them to handle. The Suffolk SPCA urges pet owners to make guests aware of their pets’ routines when they arrive for Thanksgiving dinner.

The animal protection groups also warn against leaving candles within the reach of pets, and against leaving hot oven doors open, since cats may climb into them seeking a warm place to rest. Care must be taken, as well, to keep pets from rummaging through garbage. And both groups warn that, with all the commotion of the holiday meal, pets can easily get out of the house when doors are opened and may become lost. They urge care at doorways and that pets have identification tags on throughout the holiday.

Owners of pets who have been exposed to potentially toxic substances can call the ASPCA poison control hotline at (888) 426-4435. More information on animal poisoning issues is available at:

[email protected]