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American Kennel Club

Family and food may be the first things that pop into your mind when you think of Thanksgiving, but one member of the family is especially important to remember around this time: your dog. That big, delicious dinner is great for humans, but it can make dogs very sick. Here are some tips to help dog owners keep their four-legged friend safe during this holiday:

. Always keep an eye on the dinner table during your Thanksgiving meal and secure all leftovers. You wouldn't want your dog jumping up and making off with a turkey leg.

. Do not give turkey bones to your dog. They pose a serious choking hazard for your dog and can lead to an emergency trip to the veterinarian.

. Make sure that the garbage is secure so your dog doesn't go through it looking for some food, especially turkey fat you have thrown out. Turkey fat can cause pancreatitis in dogs, which can be deadly.

. As much as you may want to, don't give your dog scraps from your holiday dinner. Stuffing, pies, cookies and other rich foods are inappropriate for dogs and will most likely make them sick.

. If you're hosting a big dinner at your home, remember that some people may be afraid of your dog, and your dog may be uncomfortable around a large group of people. Moreover, guests that are coming and going may accidentally leave the door open, allowing your dog to run out of the house. To keep everyone, including your dog, comfortable and safe, you may want to keep your dog in his crate or confined to a room that won't be used by your guests.

For more information on responsible dog ownership, visit the AKC website at