Thanksgiving Do’s and Don’ts For Your Dog

By Sarah Hinds Friedl on November 24th, 2022

Your dog is a valued member of your family. So it makes perfect sense that you would want to include them in your Thanksgiving celebration! That being said, we all know that the holidays aren’t always smooth sailing. So, how can you ensure that your dog is truly thankful to be included? 

With these do’s and don’ts for a dog-friendly version of Turkey Day, you can be sure that your pup feels warm and fuzzy about the festivities.

Don’t: Underestimate the power of a good exercise session
On the morning of Thanksgiving, it’s common to have a to-do list the length of a dictionary. But, if you can squeeze in a half hour to an hour of exercise with your dog before your guests arrive, you’ll be glad you did.

Exercise can help burn off extra energy so that your dog doesn’t feel quite as excited or stressed to have so many people in their space. This may help to curb some of their less-than-inviting habits, like jumping up on guests or barking at your nieces and nephews playing in the backyard.

Remember also that your dog will feed off of your energy. That’s why joining in on your dog’s pre-holiday exercise session can actually do both of you some good! So load your pup into the car—fitted with BreezeGuard Screens to keep Fido safely in the back—and head to the nearest park or your favorite running trail. 

Do: Keep a close eye on your dog as guests arrive
If your dog has a habit of slipping out the front door when you’re not looking, Thanksgiving can put them at higher-than-normal risk of escaping. In the hustle and bustle of greeting family members and helping your guests bring in their dishes, make sure to keep tabs on where your dog is at all times. In fact, it might be a good idea to keep your doggo on a leash or install a baby gate at the front door until your entire guest list has arrived.

Don’t: Allow your guests to slip your dog table scraps
It can be difficult to make sure that your guests don’t fall victim to your dog’s convincing “feed me” face. But, the truth is, it’s not a good idea for your dog to eat table scraps on Thanksgiving. After all, your family might stick around to wash the dishes, but they probably won’t be there to see the consequences of a swallowed turkey bone, garlicky mashed potatoes, or other dangerous food for dogs.  

Do: Prepare a special Thanksgiving treat for your dog
If you can’t bear the thought of your dog being around so much tantalizing food without enjoying any of it, don’t worry. There are plenty of dog-friendly treats that you can share with your pooch.

For one thing, if your dog is used to eating vegetables, there are a few dog-friendly ones that always make an appearance on Thanksgiving. Carrots, green beans, and sweet potatoes, for instance, are safe for dogs when boiled without seasonings. Your dog can also safely eat a small portion of unseasoned, cooked turkey.

If you want to give your dog one of these special treats on Thanksgiving, you can simply add them to their food bowl. Or, you can put a few ingredients in their favorite slow-feeding toy. 

Don’t: Leave your dog alone with children
No matter how good your dog usually is around kids, holidays can make them feel stressed and anxious. And this can sometimes lead them to lash out unexpectedly, especially if they feel trapped. Kids often aren’t able to read the warning signs of a dog that needs some personal space, so make sure to always be in the room with them to avoid any accidents.

Do: Give your dog a space to relax 
There’s a good chance that your dog will feel a bit overstimulated with all the noise, smells, and excitement in the air. So, give them the chance to cool off and recharge when they need it.

You may start to see your dog avoiding physical contact, yawning, and shaking their coat when they’re getting overwhelmed. This is a good opportunity to bring them to another room or take them for a walk to release some tension.

Now, we should note that if you have a dog with a history of reactivity or aggressive outbursts in the past, safety is a top priority. You may want to leave your dog with a trusted pet sitter while you have houseguests or keep them in a safe, quiet room with food and water.

Don’t: Feel bad if your dog struggles to remember their training
Maybe your dog ace’d their puppy classes and acts like a complete angel 99% of the time. But, the minute you have guests over, it seems that all their training has gone out the window.

This is fairly common. According to scientific studies, dogs aren’t great at generalizing what they’ve learned when there are new stimuli present. That’s why it’s so important to practice their training in a variety of settings. Of course, it’s not everyday that your house is filled with people. So it’s understandable that your dog might not understand that the normal rules still apply. Let’s say, for instance, that your dog knows not to bark in the house. But, as soon as your relatives start yelling at the football game on the tv, your dog breaks out into howling and barking. Your dog hasn’t learned that they’re not supposed to bark in the house, even when everyone else is making a ruckus, too!

The main takeaway is, don’t be so hard on yourself or your dog if they struggle to remember their manners.

Do: Make sure your doggo knows how thankful you are to have them in your life!
Thanksgiving is about showing gratitude and enjoying quality time with loved ones. And what better way to celebrate than showing your dog some extra attention, too! 

Here at BreezeGuard, we’re thankful for our furry friends and our entire dog-loving community!


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