Every year the usual Thanksgiving safety tips for pets are trotted out and dutifully shared on social media. While they certainly bring plenty of value, we realized they’re tips for Thanksgiving not a Texas Thanksgiving. Did you know that there was a time Texas even celebrated Thanksgiving on a different day than the rest of the nation? Until 1956, the last Thursday in November was the official Thanksgiving holiday in Texas. The national holiday, on the other hand, is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month (not the last Thursday). So, in 1945, 1950, 1951, and 1956, when November had five Thursdays that meant Texas Thanksgiving was the week after the national holiday. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s more expansive look at this Lone Star quirk: “In the newspapers, the two holidays were called ‘Texas Thanksgiving’ and (President Franklin) ‘Roosevelt’s Thanksgiving.’” For more on the subject, check out “Texas had two Thanksgivings? Yes, we were stubborn turkeys.”
Of course, we’re all on the same page (and same day) now, but we’re still Texas and we still have our own particular Thanksgiving traditions—some, lamentably, no longer with us (RIP Texas A&M vs. Texas). But as we dunk our turkeys in outdoor fryers and usher in tamale season, we should take note of some precautions beyond the typical tips for keeping our pets safe and healthy. So, in the spirit of this holiday in the Lone Star State, here are some tips to help keep your furry family members safe.
Turkey fryer safety tips
If you’re a fried turkey veteran, you’re probably already familiar with the perils swimming in vats of blistering hot oil. But for those of you who may be trying it out for the first time or maybe have a curious new furry family member this year, be certain to keep pets (and children) away from the fryer at all times. Turkey fryers can tip over and spill hot oil, risking injuries, burns, and fires. Keep pets away while the fryer is in use and after as the oil can remain hot for hours. The National Fire Protection Association discourages the use of turkey fryers but if the temptation of injecting a large bird with spicy melted butter and plunging it into a boiling cauldron is too great, please be sure to keep those pups and kitties far away and check out more turkey fryer safety tips.
Tamales and pet safety
In Texas, the start of the holidays also ushers in tamale season. You might not think too many dangers lurk in these husked beauties (outside the personal risk of eating too many) but, for pets, they can be wrapped in risks. From husks as choking hazards to the too-spicy-for-pet-tummies filling, be sure to keep an eye on your pets when tamale temptations are around. Here are just a couple of highlights from the very thorough “Can Dogs Eat Tamales (The Husk Could Kill)” by Doggysaurus to keep in mind during this most delicious of seasons:
- Inside: Onions and garlic are toxic to dogs and spicy food can be harmful.
- Outside: Husks can cause digestive problems and gas and even blockage.
It’s game day
Thanksgiving also means game day in Texas and when the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans hit the field some of us will be power eating our favorite football-watching snacks and getting rowdy, no matter how much sleep-inducing turkey and marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes we’ve already put away. To help keep pets safe, keep in mind these tips (good to know for most party scenarios):
- From chip and dip to chicken wings to boozy libations, many party treats are high in fat, present choking hazards, and may be toxic to pets. Be sure to keep food and drink out of paw’s reach and ask any visitors to resist the urge to share with the four-leggeds, no matter how cute or hungry they seem.
- Be sure to safely secure trash. This will not only help keep them from the dangers of dumpster diving (e.g., discarded bones that can splinter or perforate internal organs, wrappers that can block airways) it will also save you and your full belly from having to bend over and clean it all up.
- As we noted in our Halloween Safety Tips for Pets, make sure your pet isn’t stressed by all of the activity. Set them up comfortably in a separate room while activity is heightened and, importantly, even if they’re a social pet who loves the commotion, make sure they have proper identification (collar with tag, microchip) in case they slip out while doors are open.
Giblets for pets
Finally, for many in Texas, a Thanksgiving without giblet gravy is not Thanksgiving. But if you didn’t inherit the giblet gene (and you won’t get in trouble with your Memaw for using them up), rinse and boil giblets for a doggie holiday treat. For details on the simple treat, see “How to Cook Turkey Giblets for Dogs.”
Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!