Thanksgiving is a time to spend with the ones you love, including your favorite pup. It's great to make your furry friend part of the festivities but be careful. There are a few safety issues you need to be aware of to keep your dog healthy and happy this Thanksgiving. Here are a few tips:
Make Sure It's Cooked
Unless it's fruits or vegetables, make sure anything you give your dog to eat is properly cooked. Raw or undercooked turkey can give him salmonella, as can things like cake batter and cookie dough, which contain raw eggs. And the yeast in uncooked bread dough can cause bloating, which is painful and potentially deadly.
Avoid Certain Foods
Most fruits and vegetables are safe for your pet to eat, but grapes (and, by extension, raisins) and onions are toxic to dogs. Avoid giving him anything with those ingredients in it. If you want to give your dog stuffing or pumpkin pie, find a dog-friendly recipe and make him his own special batch.
Mind the Trash
Once the turkey is carved, take the bones immediately out to the trash or put them somewhere your dog can't reach them. Turkey bones are harmful to dogs and carry with them a serious choking risk.
Mind the Decorations
If you're putting up fall decorations, make sure they're not accessible to your dog. Keep him out of the room if you have a lit candle, as knocking it over could cause a fire. If you're decorating with pine cones, pine needles, or anything plastic, display it in an area where your canine companion can't reach, as ingesting any of these things is toxic and could even cause internal damage.
Be Careful of Guests
If you're inviting people over to your home, make sure that they and your pets will all get along. Find out if anyone has allergies, and if they need to take a pill before coming, or other precautions. Also, make sure your dog won't be overwhelmed by your visitors. If your furry friend is shy and afraid of meeting new people, the excitement of a big Thanksgiving dinner can cause problems. Put him in a separate room, with a dog bed, some toys, and his private Thanksgiving feast to keep him comfortable until the festivities are over.
Be Careful of Runaways
Sometimes the noise and chaos of a large family gathering can cause pets to run away. With so many other preparations to be made, keeping track of where your dog is all day can be difficult, but it's necessary. Whenever you answer the door, check first to be sure your canine companion isn't about to make a break for it. The rest of the time, keep the doors secured, so that he can't escape. Also, a day or two before, make sure your dog's collar has all their important contact information on it, and consider getting a GPS collar. If he is an escape artist, you’ll be able to track him from your phone and easily find him.
There's no reason why your dog can't celebrate with you. But use common sense. Do what you can to keep him out of harm's way and calm any fears or anxiety he might have. That way, both you and him can have a happy Thanksgiving.