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September 6, 2012

What Are Your Pet’s Plans for Thanksgiving?

Helpful hints from The Humane Society of the United States

As we celebrate Thanksgiving—delighting in the hustle and bustle of whether to travel or to stay home, what to cook, and who to sit next to at the table—we can't forget to make equally important plans for our canine and feline friends. Festive food and beverages, along with the commotion of large gatherings may pose hazards for our furry family members.

"Thanksgiving is a special time of year for many families, but it can also be hectic, so it’s important for people to plan for their pets," said Adam Goldfarb, director of pet care issues for The Humane Society of the United States. "Whether your family is traveling or staying home, you can keep your pet safe and happy by thinking about their well-being ahead of time."

With a few simple precautions, our pets can share this special time with us safely. The HSUS offers these tips to keep our four-legged family members healthy and happy:

Is your pet partying with you at home?

  • Provide your pet with a quiet, out-of-the-way room during holiday parties. Though some pets may enjoy socializing opportunities, the excitement of a party may overwhelm others.

  • Avoid the urge to give your pets table scraps, especially bones. Bones easily splinter and can cause serious health problems, even death.

Is your pet traveling with you?

  • If you are planning to take your pet with you when visiting friends and relatives during the holidays, be sure to contact them in advance to find out if your pet is welcome. Because of the excitement during the holidays, it might be best to board your pet or hire a reputable pet sitter instead.

  • When traveling with your pet, attach tags with contact information for your mobile phone as well as a phone number for where you are staying. (Collars and tags are essential for dogs and cats whether at home or traveling.)

  • Traveling with your pet by air is risky, particularly during this busy time for airlines. Consider driving instead of flying, or leaving your pet under the care of a pet sitter or boarding kennel. Remember that your pet's carrier will be expected to undergo airline screening, so be sure to either have your pet securely harnessed so she can be safely contained while her carrier is x-rayed or request a special secondary screening from TSA that will not require you to take her out of her carrier. Click here for more information about traveling with pets by air.

Is your pet taking a vacation from you?

  • If you are leaving your pet at home with a pet sitter, be sure to ask for references, plus written proof that he or she is bonded and has commercial liability insurance.

  • If you are leaving your pet at a boarding kennel, visit the kennel ahead of time to make sure that it's clean, comfortable, and safe for your pet.

Humans are not the only ones who will be thankful at Thanksgiving. Shelter pets would be thankful for a new home and family to share their lives with this coming holiday season. Visit theshelterpetproject.org to search for a pet, find local shelters, and learn more about the adoption process.

For more information on traveling with your pet, please review our traveling tips for pets on planes, trains, and ships.

Media Contact: Raul Arce-Contreras: 301-721-6440; rcontreras@humanesociety.org

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