We love Thanksgiving almost as much as we love our pets–which is to say, a lot! We want our precious dogs and cats to be able to take part in the Turkey Day festivities and celebrate along with us. And the good news is, they can!
While you don’t want to feed Fido a slice of your pumpkin pie or dress up shy Trixie in a pilgrim outfit, you can ensure that your pet has a fun, stress-free day by doing a little bit of preparation. Read our tips on how to keep your pet happy and healthy this Thanksgiving, and you can rest- assured that he’ll have a day he’ll love.
Don’t feed her your food
You may want to give your pet a turkey leg or some stuffing, but resist the urge. Real bones can splinter and lodge in your pet’s throat or stomach, and many of the oils used in cooking are unhealthy for Fluffy to eat. Desserts such as pumpkin or sweet potato pie have added sugars and fats that can upset your pet’s stomach.
So, is everything ruled out for your dog or cat on Turkey Day? Not necessarily. A few pieces of skinless turkey should be fine, along with vegetables not cooked in any fats (steamed green beans or broccoli and mashed sweet potatoes sans butter) are healthy options. This way, you’ll be happy knowing that you’re treating your pet without the worry of feeding her something unhealthy.
Keep him away from the crowd
Chances are, relatives and friends will be flocking to your house the last Thursday in November. Plan in advance to keep your pet away from the crowd a bulk of the time, especially if he is the nervous or excitable type. Placing him in a separate room when guests arrive is a good idea, as you can bring him out later once everyone is settled. You can have him join the family (because he’s family, too!), but giving him some downtime away from all the stimulation will help him stay less stressed.
Another good thing about keeping your pet in a separate room, especially around the big Thanksgiving meal, is that food may drop from the table within Fido’s reach. You may also have relatives that want to treat Fido to some food, which can become unhealthy if multiple people are feeding him (even if they are giving him the appropriate treats).
If bringing her to a relative’s, be prepared
Your pet will be in a new environment and surrounded by new people and smells. Keep a close eye on her to make sure she’s not getting overly stimulated or stressed. If she is, ask if you could move her to a separate, quieter room. Make sure that she is kept away from the doorways or any open windows, in case she should get out. Having up-to-date ID tags or microchips is always a great idea.
Try to stick to a routine as much as possible. If you walked your dog in the morning, do it at your relative’s. If you fed your cat in the afternoon, keep feeding her then. Sticking to an established routine is a good idea to keep your pet from becoming stressed. Make sure you’ve packed all her essentials (leash, food and water bowls, toys) and you’ll be good to go!
Be careful with leftovers
Many a pet has gotten into the Thanksgiving trash, with unhealthy results. Make sure guests are throwing away their trash and haven’t dropped anything within Fido’s reach. Keep trash can lids secure and kept out of your pet’s sight. Also, like we mentioned before, don’t be tempted to give your dog or cat any food that’s not on the approved list. And when feeding him the healthy foods, keep portion size small to avoid any stomach aches.
Pets can pick up on our energy, so if you and your family are stressed, your four-legged friend will be able to tell. While the holidays are a time for excitement, try to keep your pet’s routine as closely to normal as possible. Introduce her to guests carefully, and never force her to do anything she doesn’t want to do (such as don a pilgrim costume). If you and your family eliminate or reduce the biggest stressors (change of routine and new people, situations, and food), you’ll be able to keep everyone’s stress levels down.
. . .
A little bit of preparation goes a long way! If you use these tips, you’re well on your way to having a healthy, happy, stress-free Thanksgiving for both you and your pet!