Thanksgiving is almost here. Are you thinking of all the family you will have over and the food you will eat? Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for families to get together and share a special meal, but what about your dog? Dogs don’t understand holidays, and Thanksgiving can be very stressful and even dangerous for them.
It is very easy to forget your dog during a fun holiday like Thanksgiving, and we easily become underfoot and get stepped on. Ouch! Make sure your dog gets all of the attention he needs, and, if he is underfoot, he might be better off in his cage.
Some dogs get very excited when company arrives. They wait eagerly by the window or run outside to greet the guests. Dogs love people so much that we want to give them kisses. However, dogs are a lot shorter than humans, so we have to jump. And with our jumps, we scratch people, tear clothes, and scare small children. We don’t mean to be bad; we are just so happy to see you! Teach your dog the command “off” to help him keep all four paws on the ground. When your dog jumps up on anyone, even you, tell him, “Off,” and help him put all paws on the floor. Don’t ever push or hit your dog. You could easily hurt him, even if he is a big dog. Always help him gently. When your dog is on the ground, tell him how good he is. Another way to fix your problem is to tell your dog to sit or to put his leash on when company arrives. If your dog has a solid sit, there should be no jumping problems. And, on a leash, your dog will know that you want him to stick by you and not jump. Tip: In order not to confuse your dog, use the command “off” when you want him off of the couch, a person, etc. Use the command “down” when you want your dog to lie down.
Try to take your dog for a long walk before the company arrives. This way, he will be tired when the guests arrive and willing to lie down and sleep. Also, if you have anyone over who doesn’t like dogs and is uncomfortable around them, respect his or her feelings by putting your dog in his cage or a separate room.
When there is so much good food on the table, many people want to give their dogs a taste. However, you need to be aware that many human foods can hurt your dog. Our tummies cannot handle food full of butter, grease, salt, and sugar. These can make us nauseous and even cause us to vomit. Also, your dog could develop life-threatening pancreatitis. Pancreatitis inflames the pancreas and causes terrible pain and nausea for your dog. If you want to give your dog a special treat this Thanksgiving, set aside a small bowl with a bit of unsalted peas and carrots. Your dog will enjoy these immensely, and they are very healthy. Feed your dog this treat after you have finished eating. This will discourage table begging.
For most dogs, a small piece of plain turkey won’t hurt them. Just make sure that there is no seasoning (onions and garlic are toxic to dogs) or bones. Take the skin off of the meat to avoid excess grease. If your dog is a senior, has tummy problems, or has a health problem, don’t feed him any turkey as it could effect his health. Also, as mentioned in the paragraph above, don’t feed your dog any other people foods! The only reason dogs can have turkey is because it is often in their dog food, so their stomachs are accustomed to it.
Caution! You will be greatly tempted to feed your dog one of those juicy turkey bones this Thanksgiving, but please resist! Feeding your dog one of those bones could endanger his life. Bones from turkeys or any other kind of meat easily break into small pieces. These can quickly become lodged in your dog’s throat, causing him to choke. This could lead to an emergency trip to the vet or even death. Never put your dog at such a risk! Feed him a safe dog biscuit instead, and make sure that the bones are not thrown away in a trash can that your dog can get to.
Are you traveling this Thanksgiving? If so, you will need someone to watch your dog. Leaving your dog alone in the yard for days is never a good idea, as such boredom will cause your dog to bark, be destructive, and climb, jump over, or dig under the fence. You can leave your dog with a willing friend, hire someone to come play with, walk, and feed your dog at your house every day, leave your dog at a doggy day care, or leave your dog at a dog sitter’s home. Choose which kind based on your dog’s needs and personality. If your dog is antisocial with other canines, don’t leave him at a doggy daycare where he will have to deal with a lot of other dogs. And, if he is a homebody, have someone come to your house two or three times a day to care for his needs.
Have a fun and safe Thanksgiving with your dog!