iStock_000019349731_MediumAs Thanksgiving approaches and with Christmas is on the horizon, it’s likely that you are already considering travel plans, favorite recipes, and all of the other decisions this busy and festive time of year demands. For pet guardians, the holidays can bring additional stress as we scramble to accommodate our cat-allergic Great Aunt or worry about what potential havoc Rocky may wreak upon the Thanksgiving table.

It’s true, pets often present challenges when it comes to planning the perfect family gathering.  Issues like begging, aggression, or fear may make a large crowd difficult our pets, and for us!

From the bountiful Thanksgiving table, full of tempting foods our pets would love to gobble up, to training challenges and boarding dilemmas, there is a lot to think about when it comes to holiday pet well-being and safety. Thankfully, there are several options and preemptive pet-friendly measures you can take to keep the thankful in Thanksgiving.

Creating a Pet-Perfect Thanksgiving

Generally speaking, there are three main areas of concern when it comes to holidays and pets.  These include avoiding pet poisoning, pet escape, and aggression or anxiety.  In fact, these typical aspects of holidays with our pets can be explained using three pet personalities most of us are familiar with.

  • The Unruly One – The Unruly One likes to shake things up. You know the type, and perhaps your beloved best friend displays these tendencies. He or she’s the pooch who makes a mad dash for Grandma and practically bowls her over, or likes to jump and nip at your Great Uncle. The Unruly One can often be loveable, but simply hasn’t been properly trained and socialized. If you haven’t provided basic obedience training to your pup, we encourage you to do so. Proper training and socialization is essential to keeping your pet safe. At Carriage Hills, we are pleased to offer Doggie Grade School classes with our professional trainer.Training, however, does take time, and Thanksgiving is approaching.  If your pet has issues with aggression around strangers or crowds, boarding is another great option.  Our luxury boarding facility is sure to please, and is a great alternative to a stressful day for you and your pet. We’re filling up fast, so call us today if you would like to make arrangements.
  • The Food Gobbler – The Food Gobbler has the uncanny ability to grab a dropped morsel in lightning speed, or rummage like a stealth thief on the dessert table during after-meal clean-up. And, while we may laugh at our food-stealing friend, this innocent urge can turn serious if our pet ingests something commonly found, yet highly toxic, in our banquet.Common foods that can make your pet very ill include: Xylitol (a sugar substitute), chocolate, macadamia and other nuts, raisins and grapes, onions, garlic, nutmeg, and alcohol. If you suspect your pet has eaten any of these ingredients or something that could be poisonous, consider it an emergency and call us right away.
  • The Escape Artist – The Escape Artists sets our heart to racing every time we notice an open door, gate, or window. They’re the ones to surely make a break for it given the opportunity.  Before the arrival of guests, secure any windows and backyard fences, as well as garage doors, and ask guests to use one dedicated entryway. Remind family members to close the door behind them, and make sure your pet is wearing ID tags with current information. Better yet; get your pet microchipped.

Avoiding Common Human Mistakes

As we know, pets are only 50% of the equation. We, too, often make the mistakes that facilitate some of the potential risks and behaviors we are trying to prevent.  Good-intentioned guests with minimal pet knowledge can present even bigger challenges, since they are not as equipped to know what’s bad or good for your pet.

Ask all family members to help supervise your pet or pets during the festivities. And, remind everyone to avoid dropping food or offering a bite to Whiskers or Benji. If your pet cannot be supervised, consider finding a safe, comfortable room in the house where he or she can relax during dinner and clean-up.

From your Carriage Hills Animal Hospital family, we wish you and your loved ones a very happy Thanksgiving.