Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends. People gather to eat and drink. They eat and drink some more. They watch football and eat and drink some more. Our pets are at risk during this time because their normal routine is disrupted. They are surrounded by their family, but also by other people. There is an abundance of food and drink. When I prepare a Thanksgiving meal there is a great deal of food platters, food waste, and cooling platters of prepared food. This creates a tempting target for the enterprising dog to go after.
Dog safety is paramount at this time of year. They can get into scraps that are not healthy for them such as uncooked turkey or poultry bones. They can get into the food wrappers and eat them. They can get into desserts made with artificial sweeteners that contain Xylitol which is dangerous and potentially deadly for their dogs as I recently experienced.
Give your dog something else to focus on instead of your Thanksgiving dinner.
JW Pet Chompion Heavyweight Dog Toy
This is a barbell shaped toy for dogs who are heavy chewers. Give this to your dog instead of a turkey leg. You can smear some cooked turkey and potatoes on it for added fun, or stuff them inside the toy, but this will keep your dog chewing for hours and none the wiser for not getting that turkey! This toy is made of heavy rubber and is certified to be non-toxic.
You can obtain a JW Pet Chompion Heavyweight Dog Toy at Entirely Pets.
Fire and Candles
There is nothing that brings a feeling of warmth to the Thanksgiving holiday like a brisk fire or some elegant candles forming the centerpiece of your dining room table. Especially when it is starting to get cold outside. One of my dogs is not bothered by a roaring fire in the fireplace, but the other one starts shaking as soon as he sees the wood next to the hearth! He is absolutely petrified of fire as were his early ancestors. Take care when building a fire that it is not so big that embers and logs fly out into the room. As for candles, ensure that your dogs don’t jump up on the table or drag a table cloth and dislodge a lit candle. Taking care with fire around your dogs will keep everyone happy.
Feast or Famine! Don’t Let Your Pup Overindulge
Yes, I prepare a plate of people food for each of my dogs because they are a part of my family and it is Thanksgiving for them as well. They have steadfastly observed me throughout the day of cooking (I start at 6 in the morning making at least four pies (2 pecan, 1 pumpkin, and 1 apple). My two dogs help by ensuring that I will drop something that they enjoy and then cleaning it up! I am fortunate in that my dogs are small. I know people with larger dogs who can get anything off of the kitchen counter. I would have to ban my guys from the kitchen! Because of this, I choose my ingredients carefully and make sure that I don’t give them something that they cannot handle. The last thing you need is to take the dog to the emergency veterinarian while your turkey is in the oven! This is no good. They should not eat raw meat (yes, their ancestors did, but then so did ours, and I only enjoy nostalgia to a point). Some dogs can handle vegetables better than others, but a plate of cooked meat and potatoes should be sufficient to let them join in the festivities.
What about dessert? I would be careful with any dessert. The artificial sweetener Xylitol is in many ingredients and is very dangerous for dogs. Chocolate is also known to harm dogs. Let them have some fresh fruit. They really won’t know the difference. My dogs will eat anything that looks like “people food”.
Ready for Football?
Football is as much a part of Thanksgiving as the turkey and fixings. While it is halftime, why not take Fido out for a walk so that during this constitutional, you can make room for some more pie (that’s why I make four) while your dog burns off some energy.
So what happens when you didn’t burn off enough of your dog’s energy and the second half is too exciting?
Try the Chuckit! Indoor Fumbler available at Entirely Pets. This is a lightweight, football-shaped dog toy made of chenille fabric that is perfect for indoor play while you and all your human and canine friends enjoy the big game. Pass it back and forth while your dog tries for the interception! He runs and runs! And he SCORES!!!
At the End of the Day
Be sure to clean up all of your leftovers and scraps ensuring that everything is stored or disposed of properly. Your dog is just as susceptible to food poisoning from improperly stored leftovers as you are. The scraps and other debris should be thrown out, and don’t forget to take the trash out of the house! You don’t need to wake up in the middle of the night for your midnight pie run to find the remnants of your dinner scattered all over the kitchen because you didn’t take the necessary precautions and take out the trash!
Have a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving
Family, friends, and fur babies are the perfect combination for Thanksgiving. There are additional safety tips available from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and from PetPlace. These sites provide tips on the topics we discussed in this post as well as a few other dangers. You can also check with your local veterinarian or shelter. They will have information that is more specific to your location.