Health & Healing

27 Thanksgiving Safety Tips (2024): For Pets, Fire Safety, Food Safety & More

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Family sitting at table enjoying Thanksgiving meal
How to have a happy, healthy holiday with family, Fido and all the fixins.

Turkey time is a time to relax, kick up your feet, stuff your face with food and be thankful for all the things. But the holiday weekend can have some hazards to be aware of. Before you put the turkey in the oven or start watching football, keep these tips in mind to make sure everyone has a happy, healthy Thanksgiving.

13 Thanksgiving Safety Tips For Hosts: Fire Safety, Food Safety, And Security

Here are the things that are essential to remember if you are having people over for Thanksgiving.

  1. Ask your guests ahead of time for any dietary restrictions or allergies. The last thing you want is to have a loved one end up in the hospital. If there are allergy-sensitive guests, keep those ingredients separate from other dishes, use separate serving tools, and clearly label those that may cause issues.
  2. Keep a meat thermometer handy to check the temperature of the turkey breast and don’t ever serve undercooked poultry.
  3. Wipe down all surfaces with a non-toxic cleaner and especially disinfect any areas that are exposed to raw turkey to prevent salmonella poisoning.
  4. Have any kitchen appliances secured to the kitchen counter and double-check cords are not in the way or near water.
  5. Always keep an eye on the stovetop and keep drapes and anything other than pots and pans clear to avoid starting an unwanted kitchen fire.
  6. Double check the oven and stove are off when not in use (especially before you leave the house).
  7. Install a UL-rated fire extinguisher near the kitchen and know how to operate it should you need to use it.
  8. Use oven mitts, hot pads, and heat-safe serving platters to prevent burns.
  9. Put covers on your carving knives and cutlery when not in use and have a high or out-of-reach place to store them.
  10. If hosting kids, make sure you have baby gates and child locks on any potentially dangerous rooms or drawers. Also, ensure you have child-friendly utensils to set the table with.
  11. Arm your home alarm system and lock the doors, so your valuables are safe while you’re enjoying your meal (or out shopping for black Friday deals).
  12. Install a smart doorbell so you can keep an eye on who’s at the entrance (and can let them in from another room using your phone).
  13. Put candles out of reach of flammable areas and blow out all before bed (count how many you light so you know how many to check they are fully extinguished).

7 Thanksgiving Safety Tips For Guests

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are going to someone else’s home for thanksgiving.

  1. Ensure you have a designated driver if you plan on consuming alcohol. These drunk driving statistics reveal that accidents can happen during the day too. Be extra careful on the roads as reckless drivers increase during the holidays.
  2. If traveling for an extended period of time over the holiday weekend, keep lights on a timer with a smar home system, have a neighbor check on things while you’re gone, and use these tips to secure your home if it’s last minute and you don’t have a security system.
  3. Wash your hands prior to eating to prevent the spread of any outside germs you may have brought in.
  4. Pack extra medication should you need it to take to your holiday meal or trip (insulin, asprin, or Peptol Bismol for an upset tummy on the ride home).
  5. Be careful walking on wet walkways and sidewalks covered in leaves. You never know what’s underneath and they can be slippery.
  6. Cover your mouth with your elbow if you cough or sneeze at the dinner table (and stay home away from others and rest if you aren’t feeling well).
  7. Keep your purse and valuables in a place where they are not seen by potential burglars (in the home, hotel, or your car). You’re an easy target when preoccupied.

7 Thanksgiving Safety Tips For Pets

Thanksgiving means lots of opportunities for hazards for pets too. Whether they are your pets (or a guests’) don’t feed your dog these human foods (and be careful not to drop them on the ground when cooking or eating):

thanksgiving turkey jpg
This turkey is tasty for humans, and while dogs are safe to enjoy some of the meat (just make sure you rinse off oils, garlic, etc.), you’ll want to keep them away from the bones so they don’t choke on them.
  1. Although turkey technically is safe for dogs, many seasonings, oils, and bones are not.
  2. Stuffing contains seasonings, garlic, onion, stuffing, etc. These extra ingredients can upset your dog’s digestive system or even cause pancreatitis.
  3. Raw potatoes contain high levels of solanine which can be toxic to dogs. The skins also have oxalates a harmful acid in high doses (not to mention hard to chew).
  4. Stay away from gravy which has loads of fat, seasonings, and salt. 
  5. Plain canned pumpkin or cooked sweet potatoes are fine but avoid giving them a slice of pie or casserole which is made with sugar and sweeteners. Too much sugar for your pup can lead to dental issues, obesity, and diabetes.
  6. While tempting to give Fido an adult beverage, do not let your dog indulge in beer or wine. Alcohol can cause not only intoxication, lack of coordination, weak breathing, and abnormal acidity but potentially even coma or death.
  7. Just like yeast rises in bread, dinner rolls will also expand and rise within your pup’s tummy. Make sure they don’t get any. While mild cases will cause gas, lots of farting, and discomfort — too much of it could rupture their stomach and intestines. Yeast dough is also dangerous because as it ferments and rises it makes alcohol which can lead to alcohol poisoning. 

Instead, have plenty of turkey-flavored treats and dog-friendly snacks your dog can gobble up and toys stocked up to keep them occupied while you’re entertaining.

How To Stay Safe This Holiday And Winter

We hope these tips help everyone stay safe over Thanksgiving. ‘Tis the season for giving, but also taking, and sadly people are more vulnerable during this time of year. Not only because of traveling and being occupied but also because people can take advantage of the giving spirit. Be careful about credit card scams and phishing emails or text messages. And just around the corner is Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and more – so you can start preparing now for winter weather safety.

What’s your top concern this Thanksgiving? Let us know in the comments!

Sadie Cornelius

Sadie has a bachelor’s in communications and minor in business from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been writing about, researching and a user of security and smart home technology since 2012. As an early adapter and avid user of gadgets, she’s not only well-versed in how to use them but also passionate about helping others integrate them into their lives and homes. Having lived in various urban neighborhoods in major cities, she has experienced her share of property crimes over the years; from car break-ins to stolen bikes. As a result, she’s extra cautious when it comes to protecting herself and her property. Her expertise has appeared in many notable media outlets, including The New York Times' Wirecutter, Forbes, People, Reader's Digest, Apartment Therapy, and other regional news organizations.

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