This is a wonderful time of year for us humans and it can be for our four-legged friends as well. But it also can be scary and in some cases dangerous. I know this is a holiday for sharing and being thankful, but we shouldn't share everything with our dogs (bark for a list of items for your dog to avoid). Dogster has put out a great list of tips to help us out for the holiday and I really found it to be useful. I also have a few of my own tips that I didn't see on there, so I will list those at the end.
Stuff Your Turkey, Not Your DogIt's easy to want to give your dog a big fat bowl of turkey, mashed potatoes, and whatever else you think she might enjoy. But that's a bad idea. Overindulging in fatty foods can lead to an upset stomach, diarrhea, or a life-threatening condition called pancreatitis. A few strips of turkey on a dog's normal food is fine, but don't overdo it, no matter how she may plead with her "I'm STARVING" eyes. Keep in mind that turkey skin can wreak havoc with a dog's digestive system, so make sure she gets skinless, boneless turkey.
Stuff Your Dog's Kong, Not Your DogHere's a great way to keep your dog busy and happy during your meal. Put a bit of your dog's regular food in a Kong, and then stuff a little boneless turkey, sweet potatoes, gravy - just a tad, mind you - in the Kong. It's not much food, but it will keep him occupied for a long time.
Get Her PoopedA dog who has been on a big walk or fetched the ball a zillion times will be much more likely to run out of energy during the feast than a dog who's been inside all day. A tired dog is a good dog on Thanksgiving. Make sure your pup gets plenty of exercise before the festivities begin.
Make no Bones About ItCooked turkey bones can be a danger to your dog. They're sharp, and potentially very dangerous. You may not know a dog has a turkey bone lodged in your dog's digestive system for days. Don't leave plates with bones lying around. Ditto for the turkey carcass. Hungry dogs have been known to run off with the remains of a carved turkey. It can happen in the blink of an eye. You notice the turkey is gone. You notice the dog is gone. With luck, you find their hiding place before anything happens. Put plates in an unreachable area if you can't dispose of everything properly right away.
Know this Sage WisdomSage and some other herbs have essential oils that can cause tummy upset and central nervous system depression if a dog eats them in large quantities. Most dogs aren't going to nosh on a fistful of sage, but keep herbs out of reach just in case.
Don't Cry Over OnionsOnions are toxic to dogs. They can lead to a dangerous form of anemia that may not be detected for days. Make sure your dog stays away from the pearly whites, and yellows, and reds.
Don't Give Her the Raw DealUnless your dog is already on a raw diet, we wouldn't recommend plopping a piece of raw turkey in her bowl (the change from her regular food might cause an upset stomach). But more importantly, keep your pup away from the uncooked dough for bread or rolls. What helps make dough rise? Heat. If a dog eats raw dough, what's it like for the dough in the dog's stomach? Warm. The dough rises in the dog's stomach, and if the dog has eaten enough, the swollen dough can cause pain, vomiting, and bloating -- conditions that can send you to the doggy ER on Thanksgiving.
Avoid Yappy HourSome dogs seem to enjoy alcoholic drinks. Walk away from your drink that's set on the coffee table, and Lulu may get lit. Dogs and booze are a bad mix. Your dog may not do anything embarrassing she'll regret in the morning, but she could become disoriented and quite ill. Too much alcohol can even lead to a coma, and death. Watch where you - and others - put their drinks, especially if you have a curious pup.
Give Your Pup Some RoomNot all dogs enjoy or can handle having a lot of people over to their house. Create their own space in another room or crate (if they don't have one already) so they can take a break and get some rest. Especially if there will be children at your home that your dog is not use to. Typically children do not understand that our pups might need a break once in a while and that can cause your pooch to be a little grouchy. Providing your dog some solitude will solve this problem. When your pup disappears for a nap, their area will become an "off limits" zone for the kids.
Family FeudsYou may have invited guests and their four-legged friends to your home for some holiday cheer. This is a great opportunity for a friendship to emerge or it could be a big feud. If the dogs have not met before just remember that your dog may be territorial of their own space, so take the meeting slow. I would recommend meeting out on the street and let the dogs walk in the home together. Be mindful to watch the interactions over water, food, and especially toys. The guest should be sure to bring a bed or crate for their pooch and make sure they have their own space too. If you find that the dogs cannot be friends and only feud, just separate them for the day. Check on them regularly, give them potty break, and I'm sure you will find them asleep from that point on.
I hope these tips help you have a fun and safe Thanksgiving!
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