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Thanksgiving, Turkey, House Guests And Your Pet

Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess

Are you ready for Thanksgiving? Is your pet? If your house is like mine, it will be Grand Central from now until the first of the year. Friends and family certainly bring joy, food and cheer to the house; they can also bring stress for your pet. If you have a small dog, she could run the risk of being stepped on or the big dogs could get a bit anxious about having toddlers in the house who are face-level with them. too many people milling about a pet's food dish could lead to stress and even snappy behavior. 

1001224_10151666178646721_1354102487_nIf you have cats, the risk of having a tail stepped on, being petted "the wrong way" by a well-meaning child or even the risk of your cat dashing out the door when relatives and friends are making their way in is all too possible. My cats, thankfully, run the opposite direction and hide under the couch or on top of the desk if they even hear the UPS man come to the door, but I still keep a watchful eye that they don't make their way toward an open door. 

What can you do to keep your pet safe, healthy and happy on the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and throughout the year? Here are my tips:

  • If your pets aren't accustomed to toddlers and/or strangers he could be prone to bite. Any animal, no matter how mild mannered has that tendency when faced with stressors. Make certain he has a safe spot in which to escape from the guests. If your pet finds comfort in the safety of her crate, make it available so they can escape to that sanctuary if they need it.
  • Make the parents of the toddlers aware that your pets aren't accustomed to children and work with them to show them the correct way to approach your cats or dogs. No one, child or adult, should put his or her face down by your dog and keep everyone away from the food dishes.
  • People unfamiliar with your pets, or any pets, don't realize the temptation an open door could pose. You need to be vigilant and keep an eye on the door. If the noise level gets to be too much inside the house, your dog or cat may see an open door as a welcome respite and dash out.
  • Table scraps are not healthy for your pets — you know it but your guests may think that sneaking Fido or Fluffy a bit of turkey or dressing is a good idea. Tell them that your pets are not allowed table scraps under any circumstances. Also, be aware that many people still feel that gnawing on a bone is good for your pets — that may be the case with the correct type of bone — but turkey or chicken bones can shatter and pose a real health problem (even death) to your pet. Bones and other treats should likely be avoided when you have a houseful of strangers as your pet may become very territorial.
  • You may even find yourself tempted to toss your pet a few bites of turkey and dressing or mashed potatoes with gravy. You might think they'd relish a treat, but food that rich can wreak havoc with their digestive systems and you don’t want Fido to be yarking on your carpet, right?
  • Grapes, raisins, onions and chocolate are all toxic to your pet at one level or another. Do not let your pet eat any of these items. Make sure all of your guests know that your pet eats a balanced diet and cannot have any table scraps.
  • Alcohol and caffeine are also toxic to your pet so keep them out of reach. Because some alcoholic drinks are sweet, your pet may be tempted to give them a taste. 

Give your dog a treat filled Kong or other toy in which he will have to work (and have fun at the same time!) digging that treat out. Offer the treat in an out of the way place and it just might keep him from begging at the table. We know it's hard to resist those soulful eyes, but you have to make certain your guests know they have to. Enjoy your day!

(Photo BlogPaws Facebook page Halloween contest) 

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