Ideally, your dog should never eat even a bite of “people food” during Thanksgiving or any other holiday. But all too often, those sweet, hopeful eyes are too cute to resist—especially for guests who don’t know, or care, about your house rules. Since the last place you want to spend your Thanksgiving is in a veterinary hospital, here are some key tips to keep your precious dog healthy and happy this Thanksgiving.
A House Full of Guests
Your home will be buzzing with people during Thanksgiving, and if your dog is not comfortable with large crowds, this may make him or her stressed, anxious, or hyperactive. Pay attention to your pet as guests continue to arrive, and be prepared to put him or her in a “time out” room if there are any signs of aggression or stress. Exercising your pup in the morning will ensure that he or she is good and worn out by the time guests arrive, and cap any over-exuberance.
Don’t Feed Your Dog Turkey Bones
In the spirit of Thanksgiving generosity, you might be tempted to toss your pup a turkey drumstick while you’re cleaning up. But this can be extremely dangerous. Once broken into sharp, splintery bits, bird bones can easily become lodged in a pet’s esophagus or intestine. Be sure to never feed your dog a turkey or poultry bone of any kind, and make sure that your guests understand this as well. If you are determined to feed your pet a bite of turkey, make sure that it is boneless and well cooked.
No Gravy for Puppies
Turkey skin, gravy, and other fatty, buttery side-dishes are definite no-nos when it comes to treating your pup on Thanksgiving. Fatty foods and trimmings can cause vomiting and diarrhea for dogs that aren’t used to them, and in the long-term, they can cause canine pancreatitis. Amidst the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving preparations, you’ll probably be too busy to notice that your pup has crept out of the room to be sick on your nice Oriental rug—so save yourself the headache of an unexpected cleanup, and skip the fatty treats.
Keep Trash in the Trash
Tossing used aluminum foil or plastic wrap to your dog might seem like a great way to give him a taste of the Thanksgiving feast, but swallowing these items can cause an intestinal obstruction, which requires minimally invasive surgery to remove. Stick with safer treats instead, like peanut butter inside a dog toy.
Watch the Chocolate
Almost everyone knows that chocolate is toxic for dogs—but small children visiting your home probably won’t. Take the time to explain the dangers of chocolate to your littlest guests, and tell them that, to a dog, a pat on the head is just as good a treat as food. You can also avoid any problems by simply banning chocolate from the menu altogether.
No Dogs in the Kitchen
The kitchen is never more crowded or busy than it is before and after the Thanksgiving meal. Hot plates, heavy serving platters, sharp carving tools, and your grandmother’s fine china can all be a recipe for disaster when mixed with many moving bodies and an excited, curious dog. When it’s time to prepare the table, make sure that your pet is safely out of the way—either outside the house, or contained in another room.
Update Your Dog’s Microchip
With so many people coming and going, the door will be opened quite a bit, and your pet could easily slip out and bolt. To make sure that he or she is easy to retrieve, make sure to update the microchip. If your pet isn’t microchipped yet, call your local veterinarian to make an appointment today.
From all of us here at Bregman Veterinary Group, have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving!