Thanksgiving Animal Care Advice: Don’t Give Pets Turkey Bones

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The spirit of generosity on Thanksgiving may spread to giving treats to family cats and dogs, but animal care experts were warning pet owners this year to be cautious during the holiday.


Turkey bones are a tempting treat for dogs, but they can injure pets, experts warn. (Credit: Ellie Attebery/flickr via Creative Commons)

“Most Thanksgiving food is only safe for your two-legged guests,” the County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control warned in an advisory issued Wednesday.

To ensure your holiday dinner isn’t interrupted by an emergency vet visit, the county issued a series of guidelines for Thanksgiving pet care.

Food and drinks should be kept out of pets’ reach — especially chocolate and other desserts that can be harmful.

Turkey bones can splinter and easily puncture a dog’s or cat’s internal organs, fatally injuring them, the department also warned.

“If you wish to share some of the turkey meat with your pets, make sure the meat is boneless,” county animal control experts advised.

Excess fat and skin should be removed in addition to bones, the county stated, advising that animals should only be fed white meat. The ASPCA also advised pet owners not to give raw or undercooked turkey to animals.

“In fact, it’s best (to) keep pets on their regular diets during the holidays,” the ASPCA states in its list of Thanksgiving safety tips.

Pets may beg for treats as Thanksgiving cooking continues, but the best time to feed them is when guests sit down for the big meal, the advisory stated. In the meantime, give your pets a toy or rawhide to keep them busy, the county suggested.

Animals shouldn’t eat any dishes that have ingredients from the allium family — including onions, leeks and scallions — because they can lead to toxic anemia if eaten in a large quantity.

And finally, the county reminded pet owners to make sure their animals have a current license and ID tag in case they escape during holiday festivities.