Thanksgiving day is a time of friends, family, fun and food! It can also be a day of stress, anxiety and unsafe foods for your beloved dog. What is a pet parent to do when he or she wants to host a houseful of people, but knows the family dog(s) will be anxiety-ridden?
There are many ways in which pet parents can help assure not only can they have a wonderful Thanksgiving day but know their dogs are happy, too.
The first step is to know your dog.
- Does your dog love being surrounded by strangers?
- Does your dog get anxious when his home is invaded by people he doesn’t know?
- Will your dog be begging at the table?
- Has your dog ever been around tiny humans? Children can lead to a different level of anxiety for a dog than adults, mainly because children are face/eye level with the dog.
- Do you have a space in which your dog can escape when the sounds of the houseful of people become too much for her?
The second step is to know your guests.
- Do your guests know your dogs?
- Do your guests have their own dogs and therefore understand how to interact with a dog?
- Can you trust your guests to follow the rules of the house when it comes to not feeding your dog table scraps?
- If there are children coming, do their parents understand that not every dog appreciates a child petting him or pulling his tail and ears?
- Will any of your guests be bringing their own dogs and will they be good houseguests?
The third step is to keep your dog safe.
- Some alcoholic drinks are sweet and your dog may be tempted to sneak a drink. Don’t let them. Alcohol can be toxic.
- Keep snacks and appetizers on tables that are too high for your dog to reach. Resist the urge to set a tray of appetizers on the coffee table — the temptation will be too great for your dog to resist. There might be ingredients that could sicken your dog — chocolate, xylitol (a sweetener), grapes and fatty meats.
- Keep your dog away from open doors. Your dog may be frightened of all the activity and might bolt out the door to escape. If you don’t have a separate entryway, keep your dog on a leash or put her in a room away from the door. Make sure your guests understand that your dogs are not allowed to go outside.
- Table scraps are off limits. Your dogs aren’t accustomed to fatty human foods and eating them could make them ill or give them tummy troubles. If they’re begging, you might want to put them in another room or give them a dog-friendly treat to distract them.
- Give your dog a time-out. Oh, it’s not that your pup has been naughty, What you’re doing is giving her a space where she can “get away from it all” and just relax. If she loves her crate but it’s usually in the area where there is a lot of foot traffic on Thanksgiving, move it to a quiet space like your bedroom. Turn on DOGTV to distract and entertain her when she is in the quiet space. Give her high quality treats to distract her and give her something to do. Food puzzle toys are ideal for both entertaining and giving your dog a treat.
From the DOGTV Family to yours, we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving day if you celebrate. We also wish you a wonderful holiday season and a safe time with friends and family every time you celebrate!
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