Thanksgiving may look a bit different in our homes this year, with the caution from medical experts to keep gatherings small. While we may be limiting the number of people with whom we celebrate, our dogs and cats are welcome, which is a good thing since pets can be a comforting presence in the face of stress. So, how to make your feast worth remembering amid a pandemic? Make it fun for your pets, and it will be a Thanksgiving for the books!
Before the big day, there are a few things you should know. Below, our checklist for hosting a pet-friendly Thanksgiving Feast…
Limit the number of people invited
The CDC recommends a small outdoor meal with family and friends who live in your community. If you must meet inside due to weather conditions, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors, or use a window fan in one of the open windows to blow air outside. Keep the air circulating in the space where you congregate. Your pets will also appreciate the small number of humans--more attention and love for them!
Tire your pet out before dinner
Plan a walk or extra-long fetch session before the big meal, and preferably one after as well. Try the Chuck It! Launcher for a slobber proof fetch experience and/or the KONG Classic Flyer Frisbee if your pooch is more athletically inclined.
Clean them up
Give your dog a bath and your cat a good brushing before the festivities. No one wants to give your dog a good rub down and walk away with a smelly hand. Nor is it good manners to take a shedding dog to your host’s house and have him leave half of himself behind!
Don't share leftovers with pets
Much of the Thanksgiving menu is just not appropriate for your pets. In the feature The Vets Will See You Now in the November 2016 issue of Real Simple, veterinarian Ann Hohenhaus says, “It’s a risky move” to let your pet eat leftovers due to the high sugar, fat, and salt content in many holiday foods. Fatty foods can inflame your pet’s pancreas and foods like onions, garlic, and chives contain compounds that can damage a dog’s red blood cells, cautions Hohenhaus. See our post for more tips on Healthy Holiday Eating. PetPartners policyholders have access to the 24/7 Vet Helpline, so should pets eat something that is causing an issue, they can quickly speak with licensed veterinary professionals about the best course of action.
Make your pet a special treat
Your pets deserve to eat something other than their regular kibble this Thanksgiving. You might like to try making your own Thanksgiving Turkey Meatballs--try these Turkey-Cranberry Meatballs for your dog. Or if you’re busy preparing food for the humans in your life, you can purchase these Spot Farms Turkey Meatballs and just heat and serve. You will be your dog’s favorite person--for life!
Let your pet take a “time out”
Make a space where your dog or cat can head to “chill” when he (or you!) needs some downtime. This could be a corner away from the activity or even another room where you can close the door and let your furry friend take an afternoon snooze.
Make it all about the four-legged friends
You might be feeling a little down about not being able to have a big shindig with all of your family, so make it a special and unique Thanksgiving by creating some fun with your pet. Try having a scavenger hunt and/or making no-sew bandanas with your friends and family. Hide treats (pumpkin-flavored of course) around your house and in your yard for your pets to find.
Have a fun Thanksgiving!
With our tips, you should be well on your way to celebrating this Thanksgiving. Make it a Thanksgiving to remember by involving your pets in the festivities. These tips are recommendations based on the information we have at this time but don’t forget to double-check your own state’s guidelines, too, as they may have specific restrictions in place. While you’re preparing for the festivities, don’t forget to look into enrolling your pet in pet insurance so you can enjoy the holidays with the peace-of-mind that you’re prepared for your pet’s future.