Animal Care Services

BernCo Animal Care Services Offers Tips for a Safe Holiday for Pets


Thanksgiving is here and BernCo Animal Care Services would like to remind everyone that the holiday can pose some serious health risks to pets.

Here are some tips to ensure a happy, more humane holiday, and help keep pets safe this Thanksgiving.

  • It is recommended to stick to pet’s regular diet during the holidays. Raw or undercooked turkey may contain salmonella bacteria, and poultry bones can be choking hazards.
  • Be sure to be mindful of the ingredients and spices that may sneak into dishes. While sage can be a delicious addition to your Thanksgiving stuffing, it (and many other herbs) contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression in pets.
  • Keep pet’s sweet tooth at bay by putting all desserts out of paws’ reach. Desserts can contain artificial sweeteners, like xylitol, that can cause low blood sugar and liver damage. Chocolate contains substances called methylxanthines that can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Dark chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate as it contains higher levels of methylxanthines.
  • Make sure that any holiday décor, including floral arrangements and plants, are out of reach. Pets who become uncomfortable may sniff out the different smells. Keep personal items up and away from curious pets.
  • Garbage can become a buffet for pets. Bones, chocolate, onions and other holiday fixtures will all find their way into the trash, and they are all hazardous. Throughout the day, be sure to empty garbage more frequently than usual.

As always, if pet owners suspect their pets have eaten any of the foods mentioned, please note the amount ingested and contact a veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

In observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, the BernCo Animal Care and Resource Center will be closed on Nov. 26 and 27. Adoption appointments will resume on Saturday, Nov. 28.

For pet emergencies during this time, please contact 505-468-PETS (7387). For more information on other services visit

Bernalillo County Animal Care Services is asking the public to be patient during this time as staff are working diligently to protect animals in its care and respond to the public’s requests. Bernalillo County's lost and adoptable pets are the highest priority.

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