There’s always a lot to remember when it comes to Thanksgiving. There’s a menu to plan, shopping to do, a house to clean and a dog to coach. The dog? Yes. A happy dog is less likely to engage in “fowl” behavior. Here are some tips for crafting a dog-friendly Thanksgiving.
Know Their Limits
All dogs love people but not all dogs enjoy crowds. If your dog tends to become anxious, create a quiet space where they can escape the noise and confusion that accompanies the big feast. Use a crate (if they are trained) filled with toys and a snack or two. Otherwise, set up a baby gate so your dog can be part of the action without becoming rambunctious.
Are You Up to Date?
Constantly opening the door to new guests is a recipe for spending Thanksgiving Day hunting for a runaway. If you’ve recently moved, make sure your dog’s tags and microchip data are up to date. Tags can fall off so you might want to invest in a personalized dog collar.
Back to Obedience School
If it’s been a while since obedience school, brush up on commands. If your dog hasn’t been to school, there may still be time to teach simple behaviors. Check out this American Kennel Club primer.
Don’t Break the Routine
Dogs don’t understand that you can’t take them for their morning walk because you are frantically trying to defrost the turkey. Instead of breaking your dog’s routine, ask family members to step in and help. Your kids can feed Fido. Maybe your dad would love to take your pooch for a morning amble.
Exercise is Key
A tired dog is less likely to get under your feet. Add an extra mile to your morning walk. Send the kids out to toss a tennis ball around with them. Let Rover burn off energy with his friends in the dog park. (Amira residents are lucky, they have beautiful backyards, trails and Derby Dog Park.) Do this before guests arrive and chances are Fido will sleep through most of the feast.
Train Your Humans
Dogs aren’t the only guests who may need a little training. Make guests aware of your dog’s quirks so they aren’t surprised. That can include barking when guests arrive, being shy or just dropping their favorite toy at everyone’s feet in an attempt to play. Keep your dog on his or her leash while introducing children. Teach children the right way to approach your dog. Let your guests know what your rules are for table scraps and discourage them from secretly feeding treats under the table.
No to Bones, Yes to Pumpkin
Many human foods are bad or even deadly for dogs. To keep your pup in the pink of health (and prevent an unexpected trip to the emergency room) keep turkey bones, chocolate and yeast doughs away. That doesn’t mean your pooch can’t mooch a few delicacies. Pumpkin puree, sweet potatoes sans marshmallows and turkey without the skin can be fine for your dog in small quantities. Here’s a list of safe foods to feed your dog.
Walkies After Dinner?
After a big meal you and your dog probably need to burn off some calories. Before plopping down in front of the television, take your dog for an extra-long walk. It will help with digestion and act as a reward for your dog’s good behavior. This is especially important if your dog has been in a crate for most of the party. While your dog is out of the house, take time to put food away and take out the trash to prevent your canine from trying to snag an unhealthy midnight snack.