Having a dog is a great way to bring joy to family events, especially during the holidays. However, holidays also present their own set of challenges to people with pet dogs–especially holidays that revolve around meals and large gatherings, like Thanksgiving.
If you have a pet dog at home and you want to prepare your home and space so that you can keep everyone in your family healthy and happy during the holiday–including your pup, check out the following tips.
Keep Your Dog Busy During Prep Time
If you’re taking the time to cook a large Thanksgiving meal, it might be hard to keep an eye on your dog, too. Make sure you make arrangements to keep your dog as busy as possible during prep time. That way, he won’t get into the food you’re making (or the garbage) while you’re not able to pay attention to him. Solicit another family member to take the dog on a walk or play with your pup while you cook. Alternatively, look into doggy daycares that can keep your dog while you’re at work.
Feed Your Dog While You Eat
Rather than let your dog beg at the table, feed your dog his own meal while your family eats their Thanksgiving feast. Feeding your dog during your own meal time will keep him busy and satiated so you can focus on enjoying yours. You can even prepare your dog a special meal for the holiday, by getting him a dog food that’s different than what you usually feed him or by giving him dog-safe Thanksgiving dishes, like white meat turkey that is bone-free.
Prepare for Crowds
Does your dog get anxious when lots of people are around? Prepare for any reaction he might have in advance. Keep your dog in a separate space if he doesn’t like too many people in the room, or warn your friends and family members to avoid certain triggers, like the doorbell. Consider getting your dog a Thundershirt, which is a tight garment that calms dogs down naturally.
Supervise Little Ones
If you’re having little ones visit your house for Thanksgiving, let them know about your dog, in case they’re scared. Then, teach them about the right way to interact with your dog when they play. You should warn children to be gentle, so they don’t accidentally hurt your pup. Also, make sure little kids are supervised while they play with the dog, so that nobody accidentally ends up getting hurt.
It can be tempting to leave leftovers for the next day, but if you have a dog around, you should spend time cleaning up after the Thanksgiving meal. That way, dogs won’t get into the stuff you’ve left behind and create a mess or get sick from eating something he shouldn’t.
Go For a Walk after the Meal
After the large Thanksgiving meal, many families like to go on a walk. Bring your pup with you so you can all get some exercise. Your dog will benefit from the extra movement, too, especially if you fed him some Thanksgiving treats!
Find an Emergency Vet
Before the holiday, locate an emergency vet in your area that will be open. That way, if your dog gets hurt or sick, you’ll know where to go. Vets can treat injuries, do x-rays, or even help with uncomfortable infections by prescribing things like Terramycin for eye conditions.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to gather family and friends in your home. If you have a pet dog, it can help to keep some prep tips in mind so that you can keep your dog healthy and happy during the occasion. By learning how to best handle holiday gatherings with your pet, you can make the events as enjoyable as possible for everyone involved.
Listed below are some helpful resources as referenced in the article: