In theory, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to come together with family and friends and pets to express gratitude for the love you all share; however, not every person’s holiday season looks the same. For some it means being alone; for others, it means being anxious about being surrounded by not-often seen family. For others, it means rallying the gang for a Friendsgiving, or gathering with a few friends or family members and showing gratitude in simple, meaningful, yet quiet ways. Regardless of how you spend your holidays this November, this guide will help you spend a magical and meaningful Thanksgiving with your dog.
Educate Yourself on Dog-Friendly (and Un-Friendly Foods)
Thanksgiving time invariably means lots of food. Many of the fruits, grains, and vegetables that are seasonal in November are actually healthy for your dog…but they’re only healthy if they’re not mixed with other ingredients. So, for example, while sweet potatoes are a-okay for Bruno, candied yams are not. Let’s start with the good stuff. Foods your dog can enjoy alongside you are:
- Sweet potatoes / regular potatoes
- Pumpkin (canned is fine as long as it’s not pre-spiced)
- Green beans
- Plain boneless, skinless turkey meat
Again, the key is that the foods are plain and unseasoned. If you add seasoning, it could make your dog sick. Thus, foods to avoid are:
- Bones, skin, or gravy
- Onions or garlic (or their respective powders)
- Raisins or grapes
- Alcoholic beverages
- Sweets (pies, cookies, chocolate, etc.)
- Uncooked yeast dough
- Fatty foods
- Prepared foods (mashed potatoes, casseroles, creamed peas, etc.)
Dog visits to the emergency vet skyrocket during holidays because people unwittingly feed dogs table scraps. We get it. It’s hard to say ‘no’ when everyone is chowing down and your sweet doggy is looking at you imploringly. There are a couple of ways to prevent your dog from eating anything they shouldn’t, though. One way is by feeding your dog a healthy meal before the dinner is served, such as Wellness CORE RawRev Original + 100% Raw Turkey Dog Food. The other is discussed below.
Prepare Guests for Your Dog
In addition to feeding your dog before the meal, you should also let any guests know your rules for your dog whether you’re the host or the guest. Important rules to outline are:
- Not to feed the dog human foods at all
- Not to let the dog run out (or in) the front or back doors (make sure they know where your dog is allowed to be and what doors to keep closed or open)
- To inform you when / if the trash can is full (if you’re the host) or to not let it overflow / sit while full (if you’re a guest). Dogs are notorious for getting into the trash after the cooking and eating have wrapped up
- Not to leave food sitting on the table
- If your dog has anxiety or issues with other people, children, or other pets
Help Keep Your Dog’s Anxiety at Bay When the Guests Arrive
Importantly, if your dog does have anxiety, it’s best to not bring them to a social gathering, but if you’re the host or are traveling and it’s unavoidable, then you should take steps to keep your dog’s anxiety at bay. A few ways to handle this are:
- Give your dog a CBD treat or anxiety medication from your vet prior to guests arriving
- Create a safe space away from the action for your dog to hide out and hunker down while people are around
- Visit and check-in with your dog often whether they’re happily playing in the yard or are hiding out in a quiet back bedroom; this reassurance will help with anxiety
- Make sure others know about your dog’s anxiety, so they don’t unwittingly do anything to exacerbate it
Play with Your Dog Before You Slip into a Turkey Coma
The holidays can be exhausting, so you might be craving a nap after you eat on the big day. Before you do, though, get your dog out of the back room or out of the kitchen or wherever they are and go outside and play. Throw the ball or play tug-of-war to help your dog get some energy out. This will make it easier for everyone to sit and chill when they’re full and worn out.
Note you can play with your dog any time during the day (not just before a big nap). In fact, playing a few times such as before people arrive and before everyone eats will help keep your dog simmered down and out of trouble.
Show Your Dog Thanks with a Dental Chew Treat
After dinner (yours and the dog’s), a great way to thank your dog for being so sweet and to help keep their teeth clean and healthy is with a delicious dental chew treat. Dental chews are a great treat because dogs enjoy them just as much as any other snack and they get their teeth cleaned while they eat them.
Enjoy the Holiday Atmosphere on a Walk with Your Dog
Finally, round out your day with some quality time with the one who brings you peace. Do something healthy together…take an evening walk in the brisk holiday air. Enjoy the ambiance of the season and the pure joy of togetherness. It’s love that makes our time here so worthwhile, and what better way to end a day intended for reflection and gratitude than walking with your dog, a creature incapable of anything but giving unconditional love?
Thanksgiving can be a busy time, but with our how-to guide for spending Thanksgiving with your dog, you get to have your people and enjoy your pup, too. This guide keeps your dog safe and healthy with walks, exercise, and delicious, natural teeth-cleaning dental chew treats, something we at WHIMZEES® take pride in creating so your dog can enjoy the day while staying healthy.