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When You Travel For Thanksgiving


Planning your Thanksgiving with Pets takes some pre-planning. However, what if you are going to your in-laws or another home for Thanksgiving rather than hosting?

Again, the ideas for planning a safe space for your pet help here, too. You also need to plan the amount of time you will be gone. Providing extra exercise before you leave helps your pet relax. Plan to spend time with him when you return, too.

If your travels will take you for days rather than hours, consider whether he would do best in a boarding facility, a friend’s home, or at home with someone checking on him. Depending on your pet and where you are traveling, taking him along might be the best option. See our article for travel tips:  Vacation With Your Pet Dog Made Easy





What You Will Learn

  • Preparing your home before Thanksgiving Day
  • Ensuring the safety and comfort of your dog on Thanksgiving
  • What to do when the guests arrive
  • Thanksgiving food and your pet (food safety)
  • What if you are not the host?
family thanksgiving with your dog


Preparing Your Home for Thanksgiving with Your Dog


Most of us thoroughly clean our homes to prepare for the big day. We might rearrange the furniture, too. This extra cleaning and moving things may cause some pets to feel nervous. Take a little extra time to exercise and play with your dog during this time. Make a game of the preparations. You might even try some basic obedience or tricks to get his mind off the changes.

This is also the time to consider how your pet will respond to guests. If you often have guests, this might not be an issue. Your pet might already be accustomed to these changes.

However, many of us don’t have a routine of visitors.  if you are concerned that he may need adjustment time, plan a special place for him to diffuse when he needs. In fact, some pets are actually happier when allowed to retreat from the festivities entirely. Allowing your dog to have space often resolves any potential issues and makes him happier, too.

You know your pet and his personality, make appropriate plans for him. And, think ahead for special effects, too. For instance, your dog might appreciate a new bone or toy. Such a gift helps take his mind off the extra activities. Some dogs actually appreciate a new bed away from the guests, too.




Consider your human guests, too.


Some people are not comfortable around pets of any kind. While your dog may be a perfection gentleman, not everyone perceives him that way. Are some of your guests afraid of pets? Will there be people that are allergic to pets?

Your pet may experience additional stress if a guest is not pet-friendly. For such times, consider a separate room for your dog. It might actually help your pet feel more comfortable.


NOTE Also, the people factor


Some adults and children might not treat your pet the same as you do. In fact, you might consider them harmful to your pets. Of course,we hope that is not the case. But we suggest you give some thought to allowing your pet the mental and physical safety of being removed from the area if that might be a concern.

Also, for those pets that are artful moochers. Thanksgiving guests often find it amusing to indulge the family pet. For his health and safety, keep your pet away from the table while you eat. You can always give him a well-deserved treat later.



Preparing Your Pet


Consier planning the space for your pets well ahead of planning the day’s menu. In fact, planning Thanksgiving with your dog is an important part of the holiday planning.

Where will your pet stay for the day? Should you plan extra treats or a chew toy? When keeping them in another room, consider playing soothing music. Not only does the right type of music help pets relax, it also provides a sound buffer. We also like to have each dog have a buddy, whenever possible. 

Before your guests arrive, exercise your dog to help him relax. Often, Thanksgiving celebrations last for several hours. If your guests stay long, consider planning a little exercise break for your pet. This break should be fun and provide reassurance to your dog. And remember that after guests leave, plan more time with your dog, too. He will appreciate the extra reassurance.

Often guests arrive or stay through your pet’s normal feeding time. Plan ahead to alter his schedule slightly, if possible. Many pets will sleep after eating. Use this fact to help him relax.


Teach your pet not to beg for food


Some guests find it funny to feed the family pet and may even feed him too much food. Others feel uncomfortable with a pet sitting two inches away, staring at the food. A dog begging for food is often not appreciated by guests.

Basic training helps with these types of behaviors. If you need a little help with that, check out our article on Basic Training For Dogs.

Other pet preparations to consider include chew toys and special treats. Also, you might offer him a special blanket with your scent on it. This is especially helpful for pets that must be kept separate. In addition, plan to slip away occasionally to check on your pets. If you want to check more frequently, consider adding a pet camera before the Thanksgiving celebrations.

One additional note: even if you plan for your pet to stay with the household and guests, please plan a special space, just in case. It is not always possible to predict how your pet will react. You might also be surprised by a guest’s reaction. Having a backup plan helps keep the day going smoothly.



Thanksgiving with your dog


Guests Arrive for Thanksgiving with your dog and family


If your pets will stay when the guests arrive, you should properly introduce them. Allow the dog to say Hello. They should accept the guest quietly. If your dog seems uncomfortable with any guest and you are unable to alleviate the problem, consider putting the pet somewhere safe. This is where that pre-planning helps. Your dog has a safe place already planned.

Also, if a  guest seems to be sharing appetizers or food, politely explain that you feed him a very specialized food and prefer he not get table treats. Even if you choose to provide table food, you don’t want every guest indulging your pet. Any pet might get sick from too much food. This can be a problem any day, but especially on holidays with guests. And no one wants to plan a trip to the emergency vet clinic on Thanksgiving.



Food to Share with Your Pet


So what food can you share? After all, Thanksgiving with pets often means a special leftover tray for our fur friends.

Indeed, some food is actually beneficial, too. A small amount of turkey, a few vegetables, and even some sweet potatoes (avoid the marshmallows, please) offer our pets a healthy, holiday treat. Additionally, most fruit, without seeds and pits, is also healthy. A tidbit of cranberry sauce, a bit of pumpkin, and even some apple, are all good choices.

Avoid the marshmallows and sugary foods. And coordinate the amount of the treat with the size of your dog. When planning treats for Thanksgiving with your dog, he should not become stuffed. Stuff the turkey, don’t stuff the dog!

However, it’s important to avoid foods that contain: onions, garlic, and other alliums, foods with a strong herb presence include stuffing herbs and  gravies. Also, avoid any foods with extra fats and sugars. Pets don’t manage these extras well. In fact, they may make your pet very sick. Again, let’s avoid the emergency vet!

Also strictly avoid bones (look closely in that turkey meat) and fatty particles, including skin and even dark meat. A small amount of fat is fine, of course, but avoid giving him large amounts of dark meat and skin. Sometimes that extra fat will make a dog quite sick. Even if it doesn’t he won’t need the extra calories. 

For a more comprehensive list of foods your dog should not have, check out our article: Thanksgiving Foods Dogs Should Not Have.  We also provide some good alternatives that you can share with your dog.



Special Note about bones


Some people feed raw and so feed bones, usually ground fine. However, cooked poultry bones become brittle and sharp and might puncture part of the intestine. It’s also possible they might cause a blockage. Ensure your dog does not have a chance to try any poultry bones.

If you like to provide treats, plan ahead. Set aside non-spiced tidbits according to your pet’s normal diet. The general rule is to plan no more than 10% of your dog’s normal diet in treats. So if you normally feed 10 ounces of dog food, your treats should be one ounce or less.

It is possible to substitute part or even all of his meal for Thanksgiving with your dog. Just don’t overdo it. 



When You Travel For Thanksgiving


Planning your Thanksgiving with your dog takes some pre-planning. But what if you will be the one traveling? Some people travel to in-laws or another family or friend’s home for Thanksgiving, rather than hosting.

Again, the ideas for planning a safe space for your pet help here, too. You need to plan the amount of time you will be gone, too. Providing extra exercise before you leave helps your pet relax. And of course, plan to spend time with him when you return, too. You might be tired from your holiday events, but your dog has been without you for the duration. He will need time with you.

If your travels will take you for days rather than hours, consider whether he would do best in a boarding facility, a friend’s home, or at home with someone checking on him. Depending on your pet and where you are traveling, taking him along might be the best option. Just be aware of the host family’s preferences.

Need help preparing to travel with your dog? Check out our article: Vacation With Your Pet Dog Made Easy



Enjoying Thankgiving with Your Dog This Year?


Thanksgiving is coming up soon, and that means it’s time to start planning how you will celebrate the holiday with your friends and family. This year, don’t forget to include your furry friend in the festivities! Dogs love spending time with their people, and there are plenty of ways to make sure they feel included on Thanksgiving. From bringing them along for a walk while you prepare dinner to setting up a special place for them at the table, your dog will surely enjoy celebrating alongside you.

Please share your own tips for including dogs in Thanksgiving celebrations below in the comments section. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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