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What are your pet’s plans for Thanksgiving?

Keep your pets healthy and happy over the holidays

As you celebrate Thanksgiving, don't forget your canine and feline friends! Give thanks for them by making sure they're safe. It's all too easy for dinner guests to accidentally leave a door open and allow an escape. And your uncle's goodhearted desire to slip a few leftovers to your dog under the table can actually be dangerous.

"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," says KC Theisen, 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, your pets can happily share this special time. Here are some tips to keep your 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. Some pets may enjoy socializing opportunities, but the excitement may overwhelm others.
  • Avoid the temptation to give your pets table scraps, especially bones. Bones easily splinter and can cause serious and expensive health problems, even death.

Is your pet traveling with you?

  • If you are planning to bring your pet along to visit friends and relatives during the holidays, make sure you plan ahead. Your pet might be happier at home with a reputable pet sitter instead.
  • For more information on traveling with your pet, please review our traveling tips for pets on planes, trains, and ships »

  • When traveling with your pet, attach tags with contact information for your mobile phone as well as a phone number for the place you're 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. If you do have to fly rather than drive, remember that your pet's carrier will be expected to undergo airline screening. Be sure to either have your pet securely harnessed so they can be safely contained while their carrier is x-rayed or request a special secondary screening from TSA that will not require you to take them out of their carrier.
    Learn more about traveling with pets by air »
  • It's generally safer to travel with you pet in a car, but you still need to take steps to keep your pet (and yourself) safe.

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 they are 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.

Share the season with all animals

If you're looking for a way to share your gratitude this season, remember that shelter pets would be thankful for a new home and family to share their lives with! Visit the Shelter Pet Project to search for a pet, find local shelters and learn more about the adoption process.

And if you're looking for more ways to celebrate the season, we've got more Thanksgiving tips for you!

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