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Four tips for keeping pets safe during Thanksgiving

Pet Sitters International offers advice to ensure animals are not at risk during the holiday

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Veterinarians should remind owners to keep their pets away from toxic foods and provide them with a safe space when planning Thanksgiving activities, advises Pet Sitters International (PSI).

“Simple holiday traditions, such as hosting a Thanksgiving feast for friends and family can pose potential problems to pets if not monitored carefully,” said Patti J. Moran, PSI president. “Fortunately, there are simple precautions pet owners can take to help promote a safe and happy holiday for pets and humans alike.”

PSI offers the following tips for veterinarians and pet owners to keep in mind this Thanksgiving:

  1. Food is a culprit for some of the most common holiday pet emergencies, so make sure your clients know which foods are off-limits for pets, and remind them to make it clear to guests. Holiday treats—such as rich, fatty scraps, bones from pork and poultry, alcoholic beverages, chocolate, and other sweets—can be harmful to pets. Other dangerous substances for pets include the sugar substitute xylitol, bread dough, and onions. Urge owners to call a veterinarian or local emergency hospital immediately if a pet ingests a potentially harmful product.
  2. Veterinarians should also warn owners to keep holiday decorations like cornucopias, pine cones, plants, and lights out of pets’ reach. They could be harmful if chewed on or ingested.
  3. For animals easily frightened or not used to being around a lot of people, Thanksgiving can be an especially stressful time. If guests will be at a client’s home, make sure you suggest they have a room set aside where pets can relax with toys and not be disturbed. It is also important to tell owners to make sure their pet is wearing an identification tag with their name and current contact information, in case they slip out the door as guests come and go.
  4. Recommend pet owners hire a professional pet sitter as soon as possible. Anyone can post a profile on a pet-sitting or dog-walking website or app, so it is important to make sure pet owners are choosing a qualified pet care provider. PSI recommends pet owners schedule a consultation with a potential pet sitter prior to booking services.
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