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Getting Through Thanksgiving Without Your Furry Friend Getting Sick


Believe it or not, ready or not, Thanksgiving is just around the corner!  While you are busy holiday shopping and entertaining, Lien Animal Clinic has a few tips to help the season be thankful and safe for your pets.


The best part of the holiday season is getting to invite family and friends from out of town to come stay over and share time together. With visiting guests comes a few things to consider. For many pets, new guests can be stressful. 

Watch for signs of stress:

  • Hiding
  • Shaking
  • Pacing at night
  • Inappropriate urination or defecation
  • Reduced appetite

Stressed pets may need breaks from unfamiliar company, quiet spaces to get some alone time, and may need more attention from you or more activity than usual. 

For many of us, our pets are on strict diets because many other foods will make them sick. Make sure that your guests know any special dietary restrictions that your pet may have. 

Many guests will also bring medications with them or may leave food in their carry-on luggage or purse. Ask your guests if they have any of these items so they can be kept safely out of reach from your pets.

People Food

All the cooking and all the food! Many of us will look back at what we choose to eat and how much of it we ate with regret, but we probably won’t end up in the hospital from it. This is not true for many pets. Many high fat foods like turkey drippings or carcasses, bacon, butter, and gravy are not well-tolerated by pets. Ingestion of these foods can cause pancreatitis which is a very painful and serious inflammation of the pancreas that puts countless pets into the hospital during the holiday season every year. In severe cases, pets can die from pancreatitis. Vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and abdominal pain are also commonly seen around the holidays and all are completely avoidable. Even though everything about your pet’s face and whines suggests that they want some of the holiday cheer, it is best to stay clear from table scraps or leftovers due to these risks. 

Furthermore, ensure that none of these food items are left out where a determined pet could have access to them. A favorite story comes from an owner who left a turkey carcass out, pushed back on the counter to be used to make stock later that night. She went to shop during the evening sales and came home to the carcass having been pulled from the counter, drug across the floor, down the hall, and up onto her bed where her dog ate it, vomited, and had diarrhea. As a final thought, it is not recommended to give your pet leftover bones or corn cobs, since these are common foreign bodies that get stuck in the GI tract.

Other Dangers


It will be everywhere: left out on a table for guests, in the mail from a loved one, baked into a dessert, or thrown into the trash. This is one of the most common intoxications during the holiday season and care should be taken to keep your pets away from it. The higher the cacao content, the higher the risk of problems. If you suspect that your pet has eaten chocolate, it is best to call Lien Animal Clinic (or an emergency hospital if after hours) right away so we can help determine the next best steps for your pet. Other harmful things that go with chocolate can also include macadamia nuts, xylitol (sugar free candies and chocolates) and raisins. 

Weight Gain

Just like their owners, pets frequently pack on pounds during the holiday season. This can be due to a combination of reduced activity with the change in the weather, table scraps during parties or when guests stay, and the classic weight gain while staying at grandma and grandpa’s house. Weight gain can become a serious problem for pets, especially those who already have mobility or metabolic diseases. It’s best to stick to your pet’s regular diet and make small reductions in their food intake if their activity is down.

Holiday Flowers

Many holiday decorations and arrangements may have poisons hidden in them. If you have cats, do not keep any arrangements that have lilies in them. Arrangements that have citrus fruit leaves, peonies, irises, foxglove, mums, or tulips should also be avoided. If you think that your pet has ingested these, please contact Lien Animal Clinic right away.  

Lien Animal Clinic hopes you can celebrate Thanksgiving safely with your whole human and fur family!

Contact Us

Lien Animal Clinic


3710 SW Alaska St Seattle, WA 98126

Temporary Hours

Mon-Fri: 8 AM - 5 PM Sat: 9 AM - 5 PM Sun: 9:30 AM - 2 PM