Thanksgiving Safety for your Dog
Thanksgiving is not just for humans; it's also a time when our dogs can sense excitement and, sometimes, get a little too interested in the festive fare. At Lucky Dog, we believe with some preparation, you can ensure that this Thanksgiving is enjoyable and safe for your dog.
Here's your go-to guide for a dog-friendly holiday.
Safe Snacking: A Treat or Two, not a Feast
Dogs have different digestive systems and dietary needs, so while we savor a variety of dishes, remember that dogs do best with consistency. Here are additional tips to keep your dog's tummy as thankful as you are:
- Moderation is key: Too many new treats, even if they're dog-safe, can upset your pet's stomach.
- Watch for allergies: Just like people, dogs can have food allergies. Introduce new foods in small quantities to monitor for any adverse reactions.
What You Can and Can't Feed Your Dog
Before the feast begins and you're tempted by those puppy dog eyes, it's crucial to know which Thanksgiving treats are safe for your dog and which could send you on an unexpected trip to the vet.
What You Can Feed in Moderation:
Turkey: Lean, white meat is the best choice if you're sharing your Thanksgiving turkey with your dog. Dark meat is richer and can sometimes cause stomach upset. Remember to remove all bones, skin, and excess fat before offering it to your pooch.
Vegetables: Cooked, plain vegetables are often good for dogs. Besides green beans, carrots, and sweet potatoes, you might also consider offering small portions of plain peas or pumpkin. Always serve them steamed or boiled with no butter, garlic, onion, salt, or seasonings.
Apples: An apple slice or two can be a sweet treat for dogs, but make sure to remove the core and seeds, which can be harmful.
Bread: While a small piece of plain bread is okay, dough and bread with raisins, garlic, or onion should be avoided.
What to Avoid:
Alliums: Onions, garlic, leeks, and scallions are toxic to dogs and can cause serious health issues.
Grapes and Raisins: Even in small amounts, grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs.
Nuts: Many nuts, especially macadamia nuts, are toxic to dogs and can cause a range of health issues from gastrointestinal upset to pancreatitis.
Chocolate and Sweets: Chocolate is well-known for being harmful to dogs, and sweets can contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is toxic to them.
Alcohol: Even small amounts of alcohol, whether in beverages or food, can be dangerous for dogs.
- Stuffing: It may contain onions, garlic, and other spices that aren't good for dogs.
- Gravy: It's often rich and fatty, which can upset your dog's stomach, and it might contain harmful seasonings.
- Corn on the cob: While corn is fine, the cob can cause an intestinal blockage if ingested.
Bone Safety: The Do's and Don'ts
Bones are a controversial topic in canine care. The bottom line for Thanksgiving is clear: cooked bones are off-limits. They can lead to obstructions or lacerations in your dog's digestive system. If you want to give your dog something to gnaw on, opt for a sturdy rubber toy or a bone designed for dogs that's the appropriate size for your pet's breed and jaw strength.
Crafting the Perfect Dog-Friendly Crate
If the festivities are too much for your dog, a crate is more than just a quiet place—it's a personal sanctuary. Here's how to make it a haven:
- Personal touch: Add a piece of clothing that smells like you for comfort.
- Stay positive: Use positive reinforcement when your dog enters the crate to create a positive association.
- Accessibility: Keep the crate open and accessible so they can enter and leave as they please, creating a stress-free environment.
Handling Leftovers and Trash
Be vigilant about securing the trash. Thanksgiving leftovers can be tempting, but the garbage can contain dangers like food wrappers, bones, and other indigestible items.
- Secure the bin: Ensure your trash can has a secure lid or keep it in a locked pantry or closet.
- Clear the table: Encourage guests to clear their plates directly into a trash bag or bin immediately after eating to avoid any dogs jumping onto the counter.
Engaging Your Dog in the Festivities
While food is a big part of Thanksgiving, engagement and attention can make the day special for your dog too.
- Playtime: Before guests arrive, spend some quality time with your dog. A game of fetch or a long walk can help them feel relaxed and included.
- New toys: Consider a new puzzle toy filled with treats to keep them mentally stimulated and content during dinner time.
- Quiet company: Sometimes, all your dog needs is a companion. If they're crated away from the action, sit with them for a while to show they're not being punished or forgotten.
With a house full of guests and unusual activity, your dog's routine can be disrupted. After the guests have left:
- Re-establish routine: Get back to your regular walking and feeding schedule as soon as possible.
- Check for hazards: Do a post-party sweep to ensure no dangerous leftovers or decorations are within paw's reach.
Remember, when in doubt about your dog's health or safety, contact your veterinarian—they're your best resource for ensuring a pet-safe holiday season.
Happy Thanksgiving from the Lucky Dog team!