Turkey day tips for families and pets

Most may not realize it, but Thanksgiving is one of the most dangerous holidays of the year for people and pets.
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 8:32 AM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Most may not realize it, but Thanksgiving is one of the most dangerous holidays of the year for people and pets. For those with a new pet joining the family this year, there’s a few safety reminders to keep in mind concerning pets sniffing around the dinner table.

First, keep the feast on the table and not under it. Eating turkey skin, even a small amount, can cause a life-threatening condition in pets known as pancreatitis, since fatty foods are hard for animals to digest. Poultry bones can damage your pet’s digestive tract as well. Additionally, holiday sweets can contain ingredients that are poisonous to pets.

Here are some tips that can help pet owners avoid an emergency trip to the veterinarian:

  • No pie or desserts: Artificial sweeteners commonly used in baked goods can be deadly if consumed by dogs or cats;
  • Yeast dough can cause problems for pets, including painful and potentially dangerous bloating;
  • Keep food clear from the edge of countertops;
  • Be careful with decorative plants. Some flowers and festive plants can be toxic to pets, including poinsettias, mistletoe, hydrangeas, holly and more. You can find a full list here.

Over the holidays, there’s one statement plant that is especially dangerous, which is your Christmas tree. Whether it’s from digesting the pine needles or wagging tails next to hanging glass ornaments, this staple of the holiday season can create risks for households.

While we keep our eyes on our pets, firefighters will be watching over the community. With everyone in the kitchen prepping for a feast, there are three times more cooking-related home fires on Thanksgiving Day than an average day.

Approximately 4,000 home fires occur due to electrical malfunctions and open flames. They typically ignite due to oil, fat, or grease on the food.

Here are some tips that can prevent fires and burns while in the kitchen:

  • Install fire alarms in every room;
  • Don’t use fryers on wooden decks, since the chance of oil boiling over and causing a fire is high;
  • Heat oil slowly, since it ignites quickly;
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergencies;
  • Have a kids-free zone.

One of the biggest reminders is that liquid and frozen do not mix. Never put a frozen turkey into boiling grease because it will cause the contents to overflow, and a fire will likely ignite.