“One of the greatest birds I've ever had is called a 'turducken.' A chicken inside of a duck inside of a turkey. That's one that I love. I've done it a couple times.” -- Guy Fieri

‘Tis the season for all to celebrate with family and friends, even our four-legged friends. But with all the festivities what is and isn’t safe for our furry friends? It’s not only the food that you need to be careful with, but many other aspects you might never have thought of.

Thanksgiving is a great holiday for big family gatherings. It’s a time to have fun for all, including your pets. If you have a dog you might want to take it outside early in the morning and have it run. This could tire the dog out so it won't be so hyper later in the day when guests arrive. If your dog is skittish around people, you may want to set it up in its own area of the house. Take heed if there are going to be young children there because even though the child is trying to “play” with your pet, they might not take it that way and get scared. A scared pet will bite or claw its way away from what scares it.

Find out if any guests are bringing their pet to make sure there is no conflict between animals. You should remind your guests not to feed your pet table scraps. Make sure that when people are going in and out that your pets are secure to prevent runaways. Just in case your pet runs or your guest’s pet runs, make sure they are wearing proper ID. Also, contact the police department and/or animal control to be on the lookout.

Too many guests can be upsetting for your pets. If you have to crate your pet, make sure you place a favorite toy to help calm the animal. Something else to think about is if your guest may have allergies or compromised immune systems. Try to be sympathetic to your company and try to make things comfortable for both them and your pets. Also, if you have exotic animals you should take precautions. Some of these animals such as snakes and lizards could transmit salmonella, so keeping them secure would be a good idea.

When cooking your Thanksgiving delights be wary of what you give your furry friends. Fatty foods can give your pet an upset tummy, which could ruin a good pair of shoes if they vomit it back up. Never give your pet raw meat either, the same worms and parasites that can affect us can affect them. When throwing away the packaging, make sure your pets have no access to it. The packaging still has flavors and smells that might entice them to eat away, then the plastic could damage or block their intestines. Bird bones are bad. Do not feed your pet any bones from a bird. They can break and splinter inside your pet, causing damage that could lead to death.

The main course isn't the only thing that is dangerous for your pets -- dessert can be even worse. Chocolate is always a bad thing for your pets to eat, so make sure the kids and guests don’t try to feed your pets. Sweeteners in pies and cakes could be harmful to your pets. There are many sweeteners that could outright kill your pet, so keeping them from ingesting any desserts could save their lives.

A little precaution can make for a safe Thanksgiving festivity. Make sure to designate one person to look after the pets to make sure they are safe. When everything is done you could always give the pet a little something from your feast. A little turkey and mashed potatoes will go a long way for your pets, making them happy. Just make sure you take off the skin and don't use the gravy.

From Columbus Animal Control and Columbus Police Department, have a fun, safe Thanksgiving. Travel safe and enjoy yourselves. In two weeks, I will have the Christmas edition of pet safety.

Columbus Animal Control Lead Officer Shawn Flowers can be reached at sflowers@columbusne.us or 402-564-8839.

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