Wednesday, November 27, 2013

5 Tips for a Happy Thanksgiving with Your Dog

Are you hosting a Thanksgiving meal, or are you taking your dog with you to a Thanksgiving celebration? Here are some tips to make sure that your dog (and you) have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

Exercise Your Dog Beforehand
Thanksgiving can be an exciting day for dogs, especially with lots of new people and delicious food around. Even if your dog isn’t overly excitable, it’s a good idea to give your dog some exercise before the big event to tire them out and get rid of extra energy. A tired dog is (usually) a calmer dog.

Keep Your Dog Out of the Way While Cooking
Cooking the Thanksgiving meal can be a little stressful. You may have several dishes cooking at the same time, and things will be going in and out of the oven. Having a dog underfoot during this time can be dangerous for you and the dog. Plus, with all the food and good smells, your dog may be tempted to countersurf (sniff at the edge of the counter or even jump up). If you have an SSD dog and they know the “go to bed” cue, this could be a great time to practice. Put your dog’s blanket or bed in an out-of-the-way spot and have them lay down on it and stay. If you have a tiny puppy, this may be a good time to practice some crate time.

Educate Your Guests about the Dog Rules
Although our SSD dogs have stricter boundaries and rules than most pets, it’s a good idea to let your guests know the rules for your dog, regardless of whether you have an SSD dog. For example, SSD dogs need to calmly greet people, so guests should know to completely ignore the dog unless all four paws are on the floor and the dog is calm. Depending on the dog, you may want to leash them and have plenty of treats to keep their attention while guests are arriving. SSD dogs also should not get food from anyone but their puppy raisers. Let your guests know that they shouldn’t slip the dogs any turkey or other food.

Feed Your Dog Special Treats in Moderation
Since you’re having a special meal on Thanksgiving, you may want to give your dog a little something special in their dinner. It’s okay to give them a special treat in their food, as long as it’s in moderation. New foods can easily upset your dog’s stomach. If you do decide to give them a treat, here are some ideas:
·         Bits of turkey without the skin or fat (no bones)
·         Plain green beans
·         Plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
·         Small pieces of sweet potato (not covered in sugar)

If you need something to keep your dog occupied during the meal, you can prepare a special treat beforehand to keep them busy. Try stuffing a marrow bone or a Kong with pumpkin, bits of turkey, dog food, and green beans and freeze it.

Pay Attention to Stress Signals
During all the festivities, please pay attention to your dog’s stress signals. Give them a quiet place where they can get away from all the activity, such as their dog bed or crate. Here’s a quick refresher on some stress signals:
·         Yawning
·         Lip licking
·         Shaking or scratching
·         Tense muscles
·         Drooling
·         Panting
·         Excessive activity or restlessness
·         Excessive drinking
·         Sweaty paws
·         Vomiting

By keeping an eye out for stress signals and helping your dog stay calm, you’ll make the holiday enjoyable for your dog, and you.

We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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