Thanksgiving is a great chance to enjoy some time with friends and family. Everyone, including our favorite furry family members, usually has too much to eat and gets a good nap in. One thing that can spoil the fun quickly though, is an unexpected weekend trip to the vets office. Follow the tips below to help keep your house sane, safe & relaxed as you work to fit all those guests and pets squeezed in under one roof.
- Have a plan for where you dogs will hang out all day and introducing them calmly to everyone that comes over. If your dog is one for counter surfing, or doesn't do well with tons of new people around, consider crating in a quiet room or sending them to daycare. If you're keeping them home, be sure to take them on a nice long walk early in the day before people start arriving and the house is filled with food.
- Be sure that your guests understand that feeding the dog table scraps could make them seriously ill. Fatty food can cause pancreatitis, some dogs have food allergies, and many foods that you will enjoy on this holiday are likely to contain small bones the dog could choke on or be toxic to their systems. Visit the Humane Society's website for a list of foods that DEFINITELY need to be avoided.
- Consider feeding your dog a light breakfast (half their usual amount) and set aside the rest of their breakfast and dinner (and maybe a few treats if they aren't on a diet) to be used as treats that your guests can give the dogs. Ask that the guests make the dogs sit and stay before dispensing any treats. This can be an effective way to keep them out of the kitchen and get them to behave for people coming through the door.
- As much as you're asking out of your dogs with all this, it's probably just as hard on all your guests to remember the rules. Consider printing out a poster of "Dog Rules" with the basic Do's and Don'ts for everyone's reference and hang it someone everyone will see (or even on the front door). Maybe even make up a fun game where everyone gets a point for every time they do something correctly (help you get a good sit/stay and treat appropriately), discourage jumping, etc. and give out a prize at the end of dinner to the winning guest.
- Get your pup something to keep them busy all day. Consider a puzzle toy
Most importantly, as long as everyone is having fun and safe, don't stress too much. It will never go perfectly, but if you're trying it will definitely improve!