It is imperative to keep your pets safe during the holidays, especially when people are coming over to your house and possibly feeding your animal food that you might not know about. Below I will discuss some tips and tricks when it comes to Holidays and what you can do to make your pet feel safe and content.
Make sure before your guests arrive that you inform them that you have pets. This is important especially to cats and dogs that are inside-only companions. With many friends and family members walking in and out of the house it is imperative that you inform them to keep the doors closed at all times. If you are still worried, it would be well advised to put a collar and tag on your pet, just in case they do manage to get out of the house.
It is best to not feed your dog or cat any table scrapes. It is not good for them physically to ingest such rich foods. However, if you must give them something, because I know how endearing their cute beg faces can be, give them a piece of ham but stay away from desserts, fruits, and items that have high levels of salt and sugar.
What I do for my cats on special holidays, to make them feel like they are getting a special treat, I gut the turkey (or chicken) and then give them the necks or giblets. Most of the times they just smell it and walk away – but it’s the sentiment that matters, right? Don’t give small dogs the neck, it can become a choking hazzard. I’ve never had an issue with feeding giblets or necks to my animals on Thanksgiving.
If feeding your pet anything during the holidays still makes you squirm, try filling a water bottle up with peanut butter, low-sodium chicken broth or any other treat and then freeze it. When your family begins to eat, let your dog outside (or in a enclosed separate room) and give them that to not only make them feel mentally stimulated but also included in some sort of eating activity.
If your dog is one that jumps all over guests when they walk into the house, try going outside before company comes over and go for a nice long jog/walk. Not only will this prepare your body for the extra calories you’ll surely be consuming, it will at least tire the dog out a little more and hopefully leave them with less energy to burn jumping all over the guests.
If your dog or cat gets severe anxiety when guests come over it would be best to buy a calming medicine, pheromone or collar that can help ease their angst. Not only will this make them feel better but also yourself knowing your animal is relaxing. I recommend an oral calming medicine that you can buy at any pet store and set up a room in the house, close the door and put the crate inside the area. Provide both food and water for your pet, this will allow a “safe place” from the day’s activity. Make sure to inform your guests to not go into the room, or better yet, lock the door so no one can go inside.
Lastly, when you are done eating, make sure to empty the trash as soon as possible, in case you’re curious dog or cat likes to get inside the trash or tip it over. If your animal eats a bone or one of the other foods they should really stay away from (chocolate, artificial sweeteners, yeast dough, pie, etc.), it will be a hassle not only cleaning everything up but spending your holiday rushing them to the vet in case they do choke on a bone or ingest too much food and become poisoned. It is fine if you let them have a taste of a sliver of ham, but keep them from overindulging.