Thanksgiving is such a great time to spend with family and friends and be thankful for all the good in our lives. It’s also a great day to gorge ourselves on a feast fit for a king. However, like many other favorite human holidays, Thanksgiving is full of customs that are actually hazardous to our pets.

We all know Thanksgiving food rocks, but let’s talk about some of our favorite dishes and the threats they pose to Fido:

• The delicious turkey fat found on turkey skin and in the drippings left over in the turkey pan can be cause for severe pancreatitis for your pet regardless of how good it tastes on the way down.

• Cooked turkey bones and the turkey carcass are a canine’s delight; unfortunately, what your pooch thinks is a delectable treat can cause serious problems. Cooked bones of any kind should never be ingested by your pet. They splinter into sharp pieces that can cause choking and serious damage to the dog’s mouth and throat, and can potentially cause intestinal obstructions.

• The yummy nutmeg and cinnamon spices we use to make pumpkin and pecan pies are toxic to your pet if ingested in large quantities. Symptoms of toxicity from these scrumptious spices can last up to 48 hours and can include disorientation, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, dry mouth, abdominal pain, and possibly seizures.

• Similarly, the spices you use to make your turkey gravy taste and smell delicious (garlic and onion powder) can cause anemia if ingested in large amounts. Cats are more sensitive than dogs to this toxicity. Anemia will result in your pet becoming weak and lethargic, and he will have pale mucous membranes.

• Alcohol is considered mildly toxic to dogs in very small doses. However, the inclusion of alcohol in foods that dogs like and the sweet taste of mixed drinks tend to get our canine friends in trouble since they will likely consume large amounts if left to their own devices. Similar to human consumption of alcohol, too much will depress a dog’s central nervous system; and in large amounts can cause death.

If you want your pets to know how thankful you are for their companionship this Thanksgiving, a few morsels of skinless, boneless turkey (minus the gravy) is a safe treat for most cats and dogs. You can cut up small bites and add to your dog’s regular food for his own Thanksgiving feast. For cats, you can puree small bits of turkey and sweet potatoes to add to their regular food or provide as a unique treat. My own little dogs are not huge fans of veggies but many pets are. Cooked vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, and peas are wonderful treats for cats and dogs.