• For the Dog Lover in You!

How to Have a Fun and Safe Thanksgiving with Your Dog

on November 20, 2023

Thanksgiving is a time of joy, gratitude, and family gatherings, and of course, that includes the furry members of our family! It’s essential for pet parents to ensure that their dogs not only have fun during the festivities but stay safe as well. Here’s how to make Thanksgiving a delightful and secure celebration for you and your canine companion.

black puppy looking at cupcakes

Preparing for the Day

1. Dog-Proof Your Home:

If you’re hosting, ensure your home is safe for dogs. Secure trash cans, remove toxic plants, and ensure no small decorations within reach could be choking hazards.

2. Create a Safe Space:

With the hustle and bustle of guests arriving, your dog might feel overwhelmed. Set up a quiet room or space with their bed, toys, and water where they can retreat if the festivities become too much. This is an ideal use of crate training for your pup; click here for a refresher on the importance and usefulness of crate training and here for tips on creating a safe and comfortable home for your dog.

3. Update Identification:

With doors opening and closing as guests come and go, there's an increased risk of your dog getting lost. Make sure they have a proper identification tag and that their microchip information is up to date. You can do all this with your veterinarian, but this time of year can get busy for them, so give them a call today!

a couple dogs with their mouths open

During the Feast

1. Watch the Food:

Thanksgiving meals are laden with doggy no-nos. Foods like onions, garlic, grapes, and more are toxic to dogs. Rich, fatty foods can also cause pancreatitis, while bones can lead to choking or obstructive hazards. Ensure your friends and family know not to feed your dog from their plate and watch any kiddos for sneaking pups food under the table.

2. Create a Dog-Friendly Menu:

Prepare a small feast for your dog with plain turkey, a scoop of plain pumpkin, or some green beans. Always check with your vet about which foods are safe for your dog to consume.

3. Supervise Interactions:

Children and unfamiliar adults might not know how to interact with dogs safely. Supervise any petting or feeding and vigilantly watch for signs of stress in your dog. Refresh yourself on dog body language here.

black and white long coat small dog on brown wooden table

Keeping Your Dog Entertained

1. Exercise Before Guests Arrive:

A tired dog is a happy dog. Take your dog for a long walk or engage in a vigorous play session before the celebration starts. This can help them to be calmer throughout the day’s events.

2. Interactive Toys:

Give your dog something to do. Puzzle toys filled with treats or frozen goodies can keep them occupied and out of trouble.

3. Include Them in Activities:

If your dog enjoys being around people, allow them to politely greet guests or spend supervised time in the social areas. Again, ensure guests understand any rules about feeding your dog to prevent accidental ingestion of harmful foods.

golden retriever puppy biting orange and white plush toy on green grass field during daytime

Managing the Aftermath

1. Post-Feast Walk:

After the feast, take your dog out for a walk. It helps with digestion and provides a much-needed break from indoor activity and overwhelm.

2. Check for Leftovers and Garbage:

Ensure all leftovers are out of reach and that the garbage is properly disposed of in a secure container. Turkey carcasses, skewers, and other hazards can be tempting for a dog to fish out of the trash.

3. Relax Together:

Once the guests have gone and the cleanup is done, spend some quiet time with your dog. It’s a perfect moment to give thanks for their companionship and all of the health benefits they offer us just by being our companions.

In Case of an Emergency

1. Know the Signs:

Learn the signs of distress in dogs (remember the body language decoder we mentioned earlier?), including excessive panting, drooling, whimpering, or pacing. Also, be aware of the symptoms of toxic ingestion, such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and seizures. Be vigilant, as there will be lots of opportunities for overwhelm.

2. Keep Vet Information Handy:

Have your veterinarian's contact information and the number for the nearest emergency animal clinic handy. Also, consider having the number for the Animal Poison Control Center available.

Additional Tips

1. Traveling with Your Dog:

If you’re traveling, ensure your dog is comfortable with car rides. Keep them secure in a well-ventilated crate or harness. Never leave your dog alone in the car, especially in unfamiliar places. Click here for a deeper dive into traveling with your pup.

2. Guest Etiquette:

Inform your guests beforehand that you have a dog in case of allergies or fears. It’s also worth reminding them of house rules regarding your dog to avoid mixed signals or confusion.

3. Practice Gratitude:

Use this time to reflect on the love and joy your dog brings to your life. Maybe share some of these thoughts with your guests to spread awareness about the positivity of pet ownership.

golden retriever puppy bokeh photography


In closing, Thanksgiving with your dog can be a memorable and pleasurable occasion with some planning and consideration. By prioritizing safety and inclusion, you create a holiday experience that is enjoyable for everyone involved, biped and quadruped alike. It’s all about balance, supervision, and knowing your dog's limits and needs. With these in place, you’re set for a Thanksgiving that’s bountiful in more ways than one, full of love, wagging tails, and cherished memories.

Don’t forget to shop for all of your pet needs ahead of the holiday! Go to K9 & Company’s boutique accessory website today to equip you and your pup for all your holiday festivities.


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