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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving 101 for Dogs

Guest Post by Megan Brown

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Thanksgiving is a great time for gathering with family, seeing friends and enjoying a delicious meal. But sometimes we forget how stressful large gatherings can be for our furry friends.

The truth is your dog is probably going to be a little frazzled by the high volume of visitors in your home. Too many visitors can cause a lot of stress for your dog, which can make the animal misbehave or act out of character. Thanksgiving also presents many hazards for your dog ranging from harmful foods to long travel times or dangerous décor. To ensure a safe and happy Thanksgiving for both you and your pet, check out these few tips for keeping your dog comfortable and your home pet-friendly.

1.      Pet-Friendly Accommodations and Travel Tips: If you're planning to travel for Thanksgiving and want to take your dog, you'll need to do some planning ahead first. When traveling, be sure to give your dog plenty of restroom breaks and try to stick to Sparky's typical eating and bathroom schedules. The holidays will probably be irregular, but keeping to his routine will make his adjustment process much easier. If you're staying with family at your destination, ask them well ahead of time if it's all right for your dog to crash there, too. Don't assume they won't mind Sparky sniffing around and don't push them to agree. If you're staying in a hotel, make sure they allow pets and also beware of any additional charges. Many larger cities have plenty of pet-friendly hotels, so if you're traveling to a small town, you might consider staying in the city and enjoying a mini-vacation in addition to Thanksgiving festivities. I've found that there are many pet friendly Chicago hotels that love your furry friends as much as you do, with plenty of them being close to the downtown area so you can be close to parks and other open areas for your dog to stretch its legs for a bit.

2.      Dangerous Foods and Decor for Sparky: Our tummies love Thanksgiving foods, but the same can't be said for our dogs. While it can be tempting to give in to your dog's begging and scavenging, you can find a happy medium between letting your dog indulge without giving it foods that can be hazardous down the road. While a few strips of turkey might be fine, your dog's stomach cannot process Thanksgiving foods the way our bodies do. Instead, provide healthy pet-approved treats to give your dog a special something to nibble on. Try to keep your dog out of the kitchen as well, to avoid tripping over the dog and to eliminate the threat of hot dishes, foods and open ovens. Your Thanksgiving décor may also look pretty delicious to Sparky, so avoid using anything that might be a choking hazard. Try to stick to wreaths, fun place mats or anything far from the ground. 

3.      Guests and Pets: While your family may love your dog and vice versa, Sparky may not be prepared to deal with everyone all at once, for an entire day. I did basic clicker training with my 2-year-old Yorkie, Alexa, to keep her from jumping on the table or stealing food. Try to do this training months in advance so your dog gets the hang of it by the time the big day rolls around. You can leave the dog out for a while to greet the guests, but letting it run around your fenced-in yard or nap in a closed-off room will give Sparky much needed rest.

These few tips should make your Thanksgiving much more enjoyable for both you and your dog. So prepare to kick back and spend some quality time with your pup this year -- and your family too, of course. 

Megan Brown, in addition to being Alexa the yorkie’s favorite human, is a social media networker at Slingshot SEO. In her free time, Megan enjoys cheering on her favorite sports teams, trying out new organic dog treat recipes, and cycling. You can follow her adventures on twitter (@thatgirlmegan) or check out her personal


Helen said...

Excellent post and very informative, there are so many hidden dangers for our dogs over Thanksgiving and Christmas and I am grateful for you bringing this to our attention.
Happy (belated) Thanksgiving from London, UK!

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