On Thanksgiving, there’s always a lot to worry about before you can sit down at the table and enjoy your meal. Preparing your home and the food for your guests is time-consuming and can be stressful, and traveling can be, too. In all the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to overlook things, especially when they’re out-of-the-ordinary, like holiday safety concerns for your dog. If you keep these Thanksgiving safety tips in mind, your dog will have a healthy and successful holiday, too. From using a dog fence to ensuring turkey bones are thrown out, these things are easy to do and will ensure your dog stays safe.
Keep Your Dog Away from the Kitchen
Kitchen accidents involving dogs are common, especially around the holidays when cooking activity is increased. Dogs can be burned by hot liquids or cut by falling knives. They can also inadvertently get in your way, causing you to trip while opening the stove, for example. The best thing to do is to keep your dog out of the kitchen completely. A baby gate is great for this purpose, because it creates a barrier in your kitchen doorway that ensures they will not be fed leftovers by your family or find scraps on the ground. You can also keep your dog in a closed room, but make sure they have plenty of toys and water available to them.
Make Sure Your Dog is Safe When You Travel
If you’re traveling for Thanksgiving and bringing your dog along, make sure they’re safe by keeping them restrained in the car, either in their crate or with a safety harness. This will make them safer in the event of a crash, and it will prevent them from distracting the driver. When visiting relatives, keep your dog contained, with either a portable dog fence or in a crate. If they aren’t contained, keep an eye on them, and be on the lookout for safety hazards in a home that isn’t dog-proof, such as exposed electrical wires or medications.
Don’t Feed Your Dog Dangerous Foods
While you may want to stuff yourself at Thanksgiving dinner, don’t allow your dog to eat too much. It’s best to avoid giving them any table scraps, because an excess of new foods can upset your dog’s stomach. Chocolate and xylitol (a sugar substitute) are poisonous to dogs. Fatty foods, especially things like turkey skin, can cause pancreatitis. Turkey bones can cause your dog to choke or puncture their intestinal tract or throat. Alcohol, raw eggs, onions, grapes, nuts, and raisins are other foods that dogs should not eat. Make sure garbage cans are tightly closed, and take out trash immediately after the meal, especially the turkey carcass. When deciding where to position your outdoor garbage bin think about your dog’s natural curiosity. For some dogs it will make the most sense to place it securely inside the perimeter of your electric dog fence; for others you may want to put it outside the perimeter or in a secured place like the garage.
Know What Dog Stress Signals Look Like
When there are a lot of visitors around, dogs can become stressed. For their well-being, it’s best to keep dogs away from the excitement if they can’t handle it or begin exhibiting signs of stress. Signals to watch for in dogs are drooling, hiding, shivering, panting, cowering, whining, pacing, staring, growling, and raised fur. If you notice your dog behaving abnormally, remove them to a “safe zone” in a quiet area of the house where they can rest with toys, food, and water.
Ensure a Safe Environment for Your Dog
When decorating for Thanksgiving, be cautious using edible materials such as corn, pumpkins, and hay. While they aren’t poisonous, they can cause stomach issues or choking, so put them out-of-reach. Lit candles should always be high enough that they won’t get knocked over. If using light-up decorations, hide the electrical cords or cover them, so your dog can’t chew them.
Discuss Dog Safety with Relatives
Make sure your guests are aware of these basic safety measures, too. Ask them to secure their belongings, especially if their suitcases contain things like medicine or candy, in a place your dog can’t reach. Tell your guests not to feed your dog anything from the table. Make sure small children know that dogs don’t like to be hugged. Ask for help in monitoring your dog’s behavior, so that your guests can be on watch for stress signals or health issues, too. When traveling, ask your relatives to provide a safe area for your dog to relax when necessary. Inquire about their yard, as well, and find out if it has a traditional fence or an electronic dog fence.
Remember that the most important thing to do is pay attention to your dog and their actions. Keep your vet’s phone number handy, just in case of emergency. If you notice any difficulties this Thanksgiving, be sure to plan in advance for next year. As always, adequate preparation makes the holidays go a lot more smoothly for everyone.