How to Keep Thanksgiving Fun and Safe for Your Dog
Dogs are a very important part of many families, so it only makes sense to want to include them in the holiday festivities. For some families, particularly when everyone is traveling home, this sometimes creates a challenge as several families bring their four-legged family members with them.
If you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner with your own pets, or with your pets and dogs at your home to visit, here are some important tips to help make it a safe, pleasant and enjoyable holiday time for all your four-legged and two-legged guests.
Having A Dog-Friendly Space (And One For People Too)
It is always a good idea to set up a room, yard or area where it is a pet zone. Into this area, which can be in a space where people gather or someplace quieter, place the dog crates, bedding balls, toys and water.
This is a good idea if all of the dogs get along together or if you are just dealing with your own pets. If the dogs are not well socialized together, consider setting up separate areas to prevent any problems.
If your pet or pets are nervous around people or become anxious with crowds and noises, setting up a quiet doggy area in the bedroom is often the best thing for the dog. This allows him or her to stay in a comfort zone without being exposed to a lot of stress and unusual situations.
Remember, some guests may not appreciate dogs just as some dogs may not like guests. Always check with guests if they are comfortable with dogs and plan accordingly to avoid any unfortunate circumstances that may occur if non-dog people are suddenly in a dog-focused home.
Limiting Snacks and Healthy Rewards
Talk to guest and the family and ask them to limit or avoid feeding the dog anything from the table or from the treats and snacks around the house. Dogs can enjoy several things from the holiday meal, but it has to be in controlled amounts.
Avoid feeding the dog any turkey fat, skin or dark meat, but small amounts of cooked white meat is a lean, healthy treat. Avoid feeding any type of desserts, but a slice of apple or a bit of pumpkin is very healthy. Pumpkin, in small amounts, is actually a digestive aid and is a healthy addition to dog food.
Steamed or raw vegetables such as broccoli or carrots are also healthy treats, but don’t add any salt, seasonings or butter. Avoid dressing or stuffing as this typically contains onions and garlic, and avoid slathering gravy, which is high in fat and salt, on your dog’s food as a Thanksgiving Day treat.
Candles and Decorations
Keep a careful eye on any candles that may be lit as centerpieces on the table or on end or coffee tables in the home. A safe option is to use the LED light candles that do not have a flame but give the appearance of actually burning.
Thanksgiving decorations including those made of plastic, paper or other materials should also be kept well away from your dog’s reach. Have a good selection of chew toys and play things in the home to help to reduce the temptation to play with the holiday decorations.