Thanksgiving Safety Advice for People and Pets

SUSSEX COUNTY, Del. - The Delaware Volunteer Firefighters Association says it sees an uptick in house fires around the holidays, many of which are related to making Thanksgiving dinner. There are several things to remember to keep your families safe tomorrow. Some groups even have advice for pets. 

“It’s very typical listening to the scanner for one or two companies to go out because of a Thanksgiving dinner mishap," says Delaware Volunteer Firefighters Association President Jay Jones. 


Jones plans to keep his community safe by pushing out advice to prevent cooking accidents. He says stay alert and make sure an all-purpose kitchen fire extinguisher is ready to go in case something does catch fire.


“You never want to deep fry a turkey inside any residence or any even in a garage or a wooden deck," says Jones. "If anything you want to do it outside, away from children, away from pets."


Vincent Modesto, shop manager at the Butcher Block in Milton says deep fryer mishaps occur when people don’t completely defrost and drain their turkeys, which causes an explosion when it drops into the oil. He says get a big enough pot and only fill it halfway with oil. "When you dunk the turkey in, your volume is going to increase,” he says.


Regardless of how you cook the turkey, clean up the mess so no one gets sick. “Scrub your arms all the way up to the elbow," says Modesto. "Whatever juice has touched, it’s not going to dry up and go away, you need to get rid of it.”


Keeping your family safe also means watching out for your pets. It’s important to keep them away from the cooking, but they too may enjoy Thanksgiving dinner.  The

Canine Journal

says Google Trends show that overall searches for “can dogs eat turkey” are up by 47% over the past 5 years and that most of those searches come from Delaware. "I would advice owners to just feed their regular dog and cat food," says Dr. Sarah Landon with the Brandywine Valley SPCA (BVSPCA).  Landon says lean turkey meat and unseasoned vegetables, potatoes, and rice is all fine in moderation. She says to keep pets away from onions and garlic as onions are toxic to cats. "The more processed, the worse it is," she says. "Your typical frozen or fresh turkey meat, the white breast meat is best. Just stay away from dark meat because it tends to be a little fatty and certainly certainly stay away from any bones." Landon says the "big don'ts" are fatty foods. "No dark meat, no food with lots of butter or other fats that can upset their GI tract and also no bones," she says. "Bones can cause obstruction in the GI tract and make them very sick and in rare cases it can even penetrate or perforate the stomach or intestines."


Regardless of how you cook your turkey or who eats it, the Butchers Block says make sure it's cooked to at least 145 degrees before it's served. In case something does go wrong, Jones says firefighters will be stationed at both the fire houses and on call.


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