Animal Care Services offers Thanksgiving tips for pet parents

Published on November 20, 2023

City of San Antonio Animal Care Services Department   

SAN ANTONIO (November 20, 2023) – As Thanksgiving approaches, pet parents should plan ahead and use common sense when including their pets in large family gatherings and merrymaking. Here are some simple tips from City of San Antonio Animal Care Services (ACS) to keep pets and their people safe this Thanksgiving:

  • Unsure how your pet will react to the increased activity? Create a safe, comfortable place for your pet to relax. Make sure you put out plenty of fresh food, water, and toys.
  • Unfamiliar faces and increased activity can confuse or scare your pet. Be on the lookout for any tense or aggressive behavior. That uncertainty is another good reason to give your pet a safe, secure spot to spend their Thanksgiving.
  • Turkey bones are a choking hazard and holiday goodies of any sort should be kept away from your pet. Chocolate, turkey meat, onions, garlic, and raisins are all dangerous for pets. Candies and gums with the artificial sweetener Xylitol can also be toxic to pets.
  • It may be tempting, but do not give your pet food off the table and keep an eye on the trash. The rich foods we typically eat during the holidays can be hard on your animal’s stomach and may lead to intestinal upset and diarrhea.
  • Giving any amount of alcohol to a pet is dangerous and could be fatal.
  • Play with your dog or cat at least twice a day for a good length of time. A tired pet is less likely to do something “off limits.” Use baby gates to cut off access to restricted areas including the kitchen and dining room. 
  • Ensure your pet has some form of identification should they get lost, such as an engraved tag with your contact number and the City-required microchip ID. 
  • If your dog will be staying with a friend, pet sitter, or at a boarding kennel during the holiday, plan well in advance to avoid any last-minute hassles. 

Think your pet may have ingested something toxic? Head to or dial the nearest pet emergency clinic. Pet owners can use the ACS veterinary search tool at to find local providers. The ASPCA Pet Poison Control Center is also open during the holidays and they can be reached at 1-888-426-4435. There may be a consultation fee for services.