Turkey Day is here, and you’ve got a lot on your plate (literally).  Here are some tips for getting through the feast day with Fido.

Exercise. Make sure your pup has a long walk or some fetch time in the yard before guests are scheduled to arrive. A tired dog is a good dog. After dinner, go for a walk with your best pal. You’ll both feel better!

Leashes and crates are your friend. Prevent door dashing and jumping by putting your dog in their crate, exercise pen, or another secure puppy-proof area before guests arrive (and just in case, make sure your dog is wearing a collar with ID tags). Once your guests are settled, put your dog on leash and go out for a quick pee (to minimize the chance of excitement peeing), then grab some treats and join the party with your dog (still on leash). Take a few minutes to reward your dog for sitting calmly near you, and then you can allow greetings, if you like; ask your guests to let your dog sniff their hands, while you praise and treat your dog for keeping all four paws on the floor, then call your pup back to you for a treat and some petting.

Watch the snacks. Remind your guests not to feed your dog from the appetizer tray or the table. During the big meal, avoid begging by putting your dog in their crate or safe confinement area with a stuffed Toppl or Kong toy or another safe chew toy (check out our favorite toys for tons of options). If your dog knows how to go to bed and stay, that’s another option for a peaceful mealtime. 

A little bite of boneless, skinless white meat turkey, plain steamed green beans or carrots, or plain sweet potato is OK, but don’t feed your dog turkey bones, skin or drippings, yeast dough, stuffing, mashed potatoes, casseroles, gravy, grapes, raisins, or anything with the artificial sweetener xylitol. Here’s a list of foods to avoid. It’s always good to have your vet’s phone number on hand as well as the phone number and address for the nearest emergency vet (VCA Kalamazoo, 269-381-5228, Blue Pearl Grand Rapids, 616-284-5300, Animal Emergency Hospital Byron Center, 616-537-1402). The ASPCA poison control hotline is (888) 426-4435 (consultation fee).

Avoid counter surfing and trash diving by promptly putting leftovers away and taking the trash out. Even the most well-behaved, well-trained dog might be tempted to snag the turkey carcass or raid the trash!

Give your dog a break. Periodically give your dog a break from the hubbub and put your dog back in their crate or secure puppy-proof area with a safe chew toy.  This also gives you an excuse to “check on the dog” when you need to escape for a few minutes of quiet time.

Have a safe and happy holiday! 

2 comments on “Thanksgiving survival guide

  1. Donnie Waterhouse on

    Happy Thanksgiving to you & yours from Ernie & Donnie Waterhouse. Mya is still missing her times with her dog friends at Camp Fido on the Knoll!?
    Thanks for all you did to help make our Mya a happy pup! We appreciate you!
    Blessings to each of you!??

  2. Vicki Olson on

    Thank you for the reminders, as host I can be too focused on the humans and need to help Daisy with all the commotion. She’s still a very robust personality at age 8.

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