Albuquerque Journal Article – Dogs & Cats who Dread Thanksgiving

It’s Easy to Give them a Break & Keep them Safe

Thanksgiving is great fun, isn’t it? Family, football, turkey, pie, and beer. Well, maybe for you and me. Keep a close eye on your pets. Tense body postures around visitors or startling at sudden noises, hiding, freezing with ears flattened, the head low, and the tail tucked are important clues. Scared dogs may lick their lips and yawn. Stressed cats might over-groom.

Pets need a break from the action. Hide boxes for kitties and out-of the-way resting areas for dogs will allow them to sit out the political discussions. Food toys loaded with canned or dry food will focus a dog’s brain on natural foraging while you party hearty in the other room. Playing music designed just for dogs, called Through a Dog’s Ear, can promote a calmer emotional state.

Zylkene is a supplement that’s helpful for moderate anxiety. Preempt the heebie jeebies by mixing it in your dog’s or cat’s food starting a couple of days ahead of the big wingding. For longer periods, like the Christmas to New Year’s marathon, pets can take Zylkene every day until you’ve boxed up the mistletoe-which, by the way, is toxic if eaten. A fast acting antianxiety gel called Sileo can be given between your dog’s lip and gum before particularly raucous events.  Your veterinarian can prescribe Zylkene and Sileo.

Don’t let your dog raid the Thanksgiving feast of roast beast. Surreptitious snacking on chocolate, grapes, onions, garlic, and raisins should be avoided. If your pets have consumed these delicacies forget watchful waiting for vomiting, lethargy, or seizures. If in doubt have a suspicious pet examined. The emergency hospital can derail a poisoning before it reaches a crisis.

Drinks with alcohol can be dangerous, especially for smaller pets. And those cannabis brownies and gummies? Whatever one’s personal choices, there is a responsibility to avoid inflicting intense fear on unsuspecting creatures. Keep mood altering substances beyond the reach of children and pets. Finally, if you take Effexor for depression I know you’ll feel better during the holidays but screw the cap on tight. Curious cats may dump the bottle and binge. Seriously. Have a safe holiday and remember Murphy’s Law.


Each week Dr. Jeff Nichol makes a short video or podcast to help bring out the best in pets. Sign up at no charge at Dr. Nichol treats behavior disorders at the Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Centers in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (505-792-5131). You can post pet behavioral or physical questions at or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.