Dogs are a beloved part of the family and if you have Thanksgiving at your house, they’ll most likely be there during dinner. However, if you’re having people over, you’ll want to make sure that your dog is a pleasant guest to be around and that he doesn’t make the meal unpleasant or stressful. Here are some helpful tips you can keep in mind to make sure that your dog behaves well during Thanksgiving.
Get Lots of Exercise Before
Thanksgiving Day can be over-stimulating for a dog – with lots of new smells, sights and people around. To make sure your dog doesn’t get over-stimulated or over-excited when the meal rolls around, do lots and lots of exercise the day and morning before. Go on a long walk, play lots of fetch and visit the dog park. By tiring your dog out before the meal, you can ensure that he has expended some of the extra energy that could cause him to be unpleasant. If you’re going to spend time with your dog outside exercising, make sure he’s had a preventative tick and flea treatment, like Bravecto. If you would like, you can find more information here for a resource that can help prevent ticks and fleas for dogs.
Warn Everyone Not to Feed the Dog from the Table
Don’t let guests who aren’t used to your dog’s routine feed the dog from the table. That may cause him to beg or bother everyone for food while you try to enjoy the meal. Instead, stick to your dog’s regular feeding schedule or consider giving your dog a meal at the same time (but different space) than where you are eating. That way, your dog won’t bother people for human food, which is both annoying and dangerous for a dog’s stomach.
Entertain Your Dog with a New Puzzle or Toy
Buy a new puzzle or toy for your dog, but don’t give it to him until the Thanksgiving meal. That way, when everyone sits down to eat, he can be distracted by something new and exciting to him instead of hanging around the Thanksgiving dinner table. Toys and puzzles are good for dog’s brains because they are stimulating and can help them expend mental energy.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Instead of punishing your dog for overreacting to a doorbell or over-enthusiastically greeting guests, encourage good behavior by using positive reinforcement. Give your dog treats when he is quietly sitting or laying down peacefully. Or, give him a command, and then when he obeys, he can have a treat. You want to encourage your dog to behave well – not make him feel bad for doing something you didn’t like.
You Can Treat Your Dog – Just Do it Safely
If your dog is a good boy throughout the entire Thanksgiving meal, you can treat him with a small bite of turkey or some vegetables that are safe. However, make sure you remove any and all bones from turkey so that he doesn’t choke, and that you feed him produce that’s safe for dogs to eat. Consult with your vet before you decide to give your dog human food if you’re not sure what’s safe or unsafe for him to consume.
Having a dog at the meal can be a real treat for family and friends but make sure you do some work so that your dog behaves himself during the meal. If your pup is a good boy during dinner, then everyone can enjoy his company before and after they enjoy their food.