Thanksgiving is by far a favorite holiday for many people. Between the friends and family, the food and the feelings of thankfulness, Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday to celebrate with the people you love, including your pets. Whether you are visiting family or hosting, it is important that you make your pet’s safety a priority.
Below are some Thanksgiving safety tips to help your dog survive this festive holiday:
Give Your Pet a Safe Space
It is so important that pets have a place to go to get away from it all. If you are visiting, make sure you bring your dog’s crate, toys and even some bedding with familiar scents. If you are staying home, make sure your dog’s crate is away from all the foot traffic. In either scenario, make sure you set everything up in a room that is quiet and away from all of the commotion. Give your dog a treat-filled toy or puzzle toy, put on some relaxing music or white noise, and give him a nice break.
Keep Your Pet on a Leash
When your dog is out of his crate, keep a light leash on him. A leash will allow you to grab your dog if he is about to go for the snacks laid out on the coffee table, if he is about to run out of an open door or if he is acting inappropriately around new friends or family members.
Don’t Give Your Dog People Food or Turkey Bones
If you are like most pet parents, you like to give your dog treats or snacks to show them you love them. Turkey meat can be a suitable human food for dogs, but make sure you don’t give them a piece with any of the skin or fat. These can cause belly upset, diarrhea, vomiting and in some cases, pancreatitis, which can be a painful and tough condition to treat. A small amount of white meat with no skin, bones or fat is fine to give to your pooch as long as you discuss it with their veterinarian prior to the holiday and as long as they do not have any specific food allergies.
In addition, avoid giving your dog turkey bones. Cooked bones can splinter and cause great harm to dogs, such a foreign body obstruction or perforation of the gastrointestinal tract. If you really want to get a bone for your dog, ask your veterinarian about the best, safest options to avoid making any unexpected trips to the ER.
If you believe your pet has ingested anything toxic over the holidays, call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline as soon as possible.
Watch Your Pets Around Children
Limit your dog’s exposure to kids on a busy day like Thanksgiving. Your dog might love kids and put up with their signs of affection, but dogs are less likely to tolerate that same behavior from new people, especially with an overstimulating environment. In addition, children should be able to run around without having a dog jumping on them and/or nipping at them. It is best that you teach all children in the house to respect your dog’s boundaries. Remember, the safest thing you can do is give your dog a place to be on their own where they don’t have to stress.
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Erin Schneider, CPDT-KA and owner of Touch Dog Training, is a certified professional dog trainer who employs positive reinforcement behavior modification techniques intended to deliver results while building stronger bonds between dogs and their owners. Erin practiced her craft in Chicago for many years as a Senior Trainer for AnimalSense Canine Training & Behavior. There she taught dog training classes and also conducted private, in-home lessons with pets and their owners. In March 2015, Erin relocated to Colorado and is excited to share her knowledge and expertise with dog owners in the Denver/Boulder metro area.