Home Pet Thanksgiving Do’s and Don’ts with Your Dog

Thanksgiving Do’s and Don’ts with Your Dog

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Our dogs are just like any family member, albeit a little hairier. You want them around on special occasions and holidays like Thanksgiving.

It only makes sense to celebrate with the four-legged friend you love so much. However, the holidays can be tough on your pooch. Follow these dos and don’ts to ensure your dog enjoys the festivities as much as you do!

Provide Only Safe Food

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Many traditional Thanksgiving foods can be dangerous for dogs. Items like chocolate, onions, garlic, and grapes, which often feature in holiday dishes, are toxic to our canine friends. Dogs have different digestive systems and metabolizing capabilities, making certain human foods harmful to them. It’s vital to ensure that these foods are kept well out of reach of pets during Thanksgiving festivities. Awareness and precaution can prevent accidental ingestion and a possible trip to the vet.

While there are foods you should definitely keep away from your dog, there are also safe and dog-friendly options. You can share small portions of turkey (without skin and bones), plain sweet potatoes, or green beans with your furry friend. Remember, moderation is key – overindulgence in even safe foods can lead to gastrointestinal upset for your pet.

As a responsible pet owner, be sure to do your research as to what foods are safe for dogs and how they should be prepared to prevent possible digestive problems like Diarrhea. Diarrhea can be dangerous to your dog. So check this article to see if adding water to dry dog food can cause diarrhea.

DO Try to Keep Their Schedule

Thanksgiving can throw a wrench in your usual schedule, as you cook and clean in advance of the onslaught of guests. And let’s not forget how busy you will be on the big day itself!

It can be easy to overlook your four-legged family member in all the commotion. But dogs are creatures of habit; missing established mealtimes and walks can cause your fuzzy one to stress out.

Stress can lead dogs to act out, have accidents, and behave disobediently, so try to maintain as much of your normal routine as possible.

DON’T Share Your Plate

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While your dog may appreciate snacking on some turkey on the big day, that’s about where the overlap of Thanksgiving foods that both you and your dog can enjoy ends. Plenty of the casseroles, vegetable dishes, baked goods, and other desserts contain toxic ingredients that make your pooch sick — and they can even lead to serious health conditions.

Some of the biggest Thanksgiving no-nos include onions, garlic, ham, raisins or grapes, chocolate, and yeast dough.

Interacting with Guests Without Training

When it comes to celebrating Thanksgiving with guests and your dog, it’s crucial to set some ground rules for interaction. Not all guests, especially those who don’t own pets, may be aware of the best ways to approach and interact with dogs. Start by informing your guests ahead of time about your dog’s personality and any specific behaviors they should be aware of. For example, if your dog is shy or easily overwhelmed, let your guests know that it’s best to allow the dog to approach them rather than the other way around.

Children, in particular, need guidance on how to interact with dogs safely. Teach them to be gentle and to avoid rough play, which can startle or provoke even the most well-behaved dog. It’s also important to supervise interactions between children and dogs at all times. This not only protects the child but also ensures that the dog doesn’t become anxious or stressed by unpredictable behavior.

DO Save an Emergency Fund

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Accidents can happen — Fido can nab some chocolate off the table when no one is looking, or your great aunt Mildred can sneak your dog some food containing onions. It’s always a good idea to get your dog checked out by a vet if you suspect they eat something poisonous — even if you didn’t catch them in the act.

Saving an emergency fund can help you cover the costs of an emergency visit on a holiday when clinics charge more for care.

If you’re shy of what you need, you may try to take out a personal loan online to make up the difference. While many vets close their doors on holidays, an online loan platform like MoneyKey is open 24/7. You can access their website and fill out an application as soon as you need help — even if it’s midnight on the big day itself.

Potential Stress Management

Large gatherings and unfamiliar guests can be overwhelming for dogs. Signs of stress include excessive barking, panting, hiding, or a tucked tail. It’s crucial to recognize these signs and take steps to provide comfort.

Preparing your dog for the increase in activity around the house can help manage their stress. Introduce them to the idea of more people and noise gradually. Having a designated quiet space for your dog to retreat to, away from the noise and commotion, is also beneficial.

DON’T Play Host if Your Dog is Nervous or Territorial

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Although you may have your sights set on being the host with the most this year, it may not be in the cards if you have a nervous or territorial dog. Hosting a big dinner — one that brings several people into your home, many of them new — can be upsetting to some dogs. Those with behavioral issues can act aggressively, barking or nipping at guests.

The last thing you want is for your dog to hurt a loved one, so be aware of your dog’s temperament. Only introduce your dog to friends and family if you know they’re easygoing and social.

Pay attention to your dog and treat them like the family member they are — follow this list of dos and don’ts to ensure you can celebrate Thanksgiving side by side with no issues!

Ensure Safety Measures

Dog-proofing your home for Thanksgiving is essential for your pet’s safety. Secure the trash, manage decorations to prevent accidental ingestion, and ensure your dog has a safe, comfortable space.

It’s important to manage the interactions between your dog and guests, especially those who may not be familiar with how to interact with pets. Clearly communicate your pet’s needs and boundaries to your guests to prevent any stress or accidents.


A little planning and consideration can go a long way in ensuring a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving for both you and your dog. By following these do’s and don’ts, you can make sure that your furry family member is part of the holiday cheer, without compromising their safety and comfort. Enjoy the festivities, knowing that your four-legged friend is happy and secure in the holiday environment you’ve thoughtfully prepared for them.