How To Keep Your Dog Happy And Well Behaved On Turkey Day
Thanksgiving is once again upon us! The last Thursday of November is a wonderful holiday where we reflect upon and give thanks for all the good things in our lives including family, friends, good fortune and health. Although that’s not all we have to be grateful for because even though the Thanksgiving holiday was created by humans, that doesn’t mean our dogs can’t celebrate too. This blog will discuss everything you need to know about how to manage your dog during Thanksgiving dinner, what foods they can and can’t eat, and how they can participate in the celebration of Thanksgiving.
Managing Your Dog
During the Thanksgiving holiday, your household can get a little chaotic. With your neighbors, friends, and family members coming and going throughout the day and evening, your dog is bound to get a little confused and possibly even experience some anxiety. Odds are your dog is only accustomed to seeing you and your immediate family members/roommates who live there, but now all of a sudden there are a bunch of new people coming into your (and your dog’s) home. Most dogs possess a strong sense of territorial awareness and feel the urge to protect their domain (your home) by intimidating or sometimes attacking outsiders. This can become very problematic especially when you have elderly people or young children coming over for Thanksgiving. The last thing you want is your dog biting grandma or scaring the nieces and nephews. There are several good remedies to prevent your dog from acting out during Thanksgiving, one of which is stimulation. Give your dog something to preoccupy his/her time such as a new toy to play with or a Kong with a treat inside. Having a productive distraction for your dog will help deter them from disrupting your dinner preparations and reduce the urge to bother your guests as much.
Separate From Distractions
Another reliable method of keeping your dog well behaved during this busy holiday is through separation. As mean as it may seem, keeping your dog in a separate room or part of the house while you are cooking/preparing the meal and entertaining your guests will drastically help both you and your dog. Keeping your dog separated from your guests will prevent them from jumping on and potentially hurting one of your dinner guests. It will also keep them from begging for food at the dinner table or stealing food that was left out on the kitchen counter. Now this doesn’t mean lock your dog away and ignore them all day. We still suggest checking in on your dog every hour or so to make sure they’re ok. Maybe even give them an occasional treat or play with them and their favorite toy for ten minutes. You can keep your dog separate from the dinner table and kitchen without excluding them from the festivities. Once dinner is over and all the leftovers have been properly put away, then try letting your dog socialize with family, friends, and festivities. Dogs are very social creatures and odds are they simply want to interact with and mingle with all the new people in the house. Once the tempting distractions of food are out of the equation, your dog will be less anxious and more prepared to handle all the new people in your home.
What Can They Eat?
Although it’s very tempting to give your dog table scraps during Thanksgiving, it can be detrimental to their overall health. Most dogs will eat nearly anything you put in front of them, but just because they’ll eat it doesn’t mean it’s good for them. Dogs are omnivorous, meaning they can eat both meat and plants to sustain themselves. However, there are many forms of plants, fruits, and grains that dogs can’t physically break down in their stomach and digestive system. Let’s go through the various Thanksgiving foods your dog CAN eat. 1. Turkey. Dogs can eat turkey meat as long as there are no bones, no skin, and no seasoning. 2. Sweet potatoes. Dogs love sweet potatoes and they are safe for your dog to eat as long as there are no additional sugars or sweeteners. 3. Potatoes. Baked or boiled potatoes are also safe for dogs to eat, but make sure not to add any butter, sour cream, salt, or pepper. 4. Green beans and peas are also safe for your dog to eat as long as there’s no butter or spice. 5. Apples and pumpkin products are safe fruits for your dog to eat too. Just be sure to cut the apple cores out and only give your dog 100% pumpkin as opposed to pre-pumpkin mix. Need a more extensive list? Take a look at our previous blog on “People Food and Pets.”
What Foods You Shouldn’t Give Them
The list of foods you shouldn’t give your dog during the Thanksgiving holiday is extensively longer due to a dog’s inability to digest certain foods. Since the reasoning is the same, we’ll just list off the foods you SHOULDN’T give your dog. They include casseroles, creamed peas, anything with chocolate, mashed potatoes, stuffing, grapes, raisins, onions, scallions, garlic, ham, fatty foods, foods with spices, turkey bones and skin, and alcoholic beverages. Avoid giving your dog any of these foods to ensure they have a happy and healthy holiday with you and your family.
Just because you have a pet that gets a little anxious around the holidays, doesn’t mean you and your pet still can’t enjoy it. It is always a good idea to make sure your pets get plenty of exercise before guests come over. A tired dog is a good dog! If they have a chance to get their energy out, they won’t be as inclined to channel that pent up energy into bad behaviors. Give your dog something to look forward to on special occasions and reward them with extra special treats (perhaps some plain turkey) for their good behavior. Once they associate extra playtime or walks along with new chew toys/treats, and some special snacks along with having guests over, your dog is sure to love the holidays too!