Dog looking at camera while next to a pie.

Dog Safety

October 09, 2023

5 Ways to Protect Your Pet this Thanksgiving

Even though pets love Christmas because of all of the presents, if we gave them the choice to pick between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we're pretty sure they'd pick Thanksgiving because of the huge dinner spread. However, just because we're eating it, doesn't mean they should.

In addition to food, the Thanksgiving holiday brings travel, fun festivities and more, making pet parents have to take an extra moment to confirm whether or not they've created a safe environment for their pets during the holiday. In this post we're sharing five ways to protect your pet this Thanksgiving that includes helpful tips like safe Thanksgiving food for dogs, decorating tips, travel tips and more!

Dog looking at camera while next to a pie.

1. Safe Thanksgiving Food For Dogs​

The first Thanksgiving pet safety tip is to ensure your pet is staying away from any Thanksgiving foods that are not safe for dogs. Even though your dog will be drooling and begging for everything on the table, there are numerous Thanksgiving foods that aren't safe for dogs.

We actually have a Thanksgiving Food Safety List For Your Dog blog post that highlights everything your dog can have, cannot have and some extra bonus tips! We highly recommend checking that out to help protect your pet this Thanksgiving.

What you can also do is to make your very own Thanksgiving dog treats to include them in the festivities safely. Whether you want to add some pumpkin, plain turkey (with no butter, spices, bones or other ingredients that are too rich for dogs) or plain green beans as a food topper or as a fun enrichment snack in a KONG or Toppl, your dog will be thrilled to join in the Thanksgiving fun safely!

2. Move Any Thanksgiving Decorations​

The second way to protect your pet this Thanksgiving is to ensure that no holiday decorations are in your pet's reach to not only ensure their safety, but also to keep your home clean. Below are a few decorating tips:

  • Keep all candles out of reach and opt for battery-operated over traditional candles. 
  • Keep all real pumpkins away from dogs.
    • Even though pumpkin is safe for dogs, too much of anything is never a good thing and if your dog were to have consumed parts of the pumpkin that may have begun to rot without you knowing, this could also lead to issues.
  • Choose plastic over glass and be mindful of other seasonal décor that might be starting to go up like ornaments, lights, pinecones and more. 

Want to see even more pet safety decorating tips? Check out our detailed post, 10+ Pet Safety Tips For Decorating For The Holidays to get tons of helpful tips on the following:

  • Christmas Tree Decorating
  • Christmas Home Decorating
  • Christmas Gifts/Gift Wrapping

3. Communicate With Family/Holiday Guests​

This third Thanksgiving safety tips for pets is in two parts:

  • Communicate with family/holiday guests about your dog's dietary restrictions. 

We all have that family member or friend (or maybe it's even ourselves!) that always sneaks the dog something at the dinner table. Since not everyone may know what foods are safe and not safe for dogs, it's helpful to communicate with your family members what they should and should not give to your dog, especially if your dog has special needs that must be accommodated. 

  • Communicate with family/holiday guests about their comfort levels.

Even though your pet may want to say hi to everyone visiting for Thanksgiving, you may have a guest who gets nervous around pets and needs some space to feel more comfortable. Knowing your guests preferences and level of comfortability will help make the festivities enjoyable for everyone. Plus, your pets can always be greeted in their own area by everyone who's comfortable with seeing them!

4. Give Your Pets An Anxiety-Free Environment​

Speaking of providing a comfortable area for everyone, the fourth way to protect your pet this Thanksgiving is to give them a space that is reserved for them, away from all of the business. 

Many pets get anxious around people entering their home, especially when there's more than usual during the holidays. To help keep your pet calm, create an area that is just for them where they can relax and be away from everyone. Here are a few tips on how to do this:

  • Block off a room that your pet has always felt comfortable in (that has anything picked up that they might get into, to help set them up for success).
  • Give them safe toys that they can be left alone with. This also can include a pre-made enrichment toy that is designed to help reduce anxiety in dogs. You could make a Thanksgiving enrichment dog treat that we mentioned above in Tip #1!
  • Make sure they have access to their blanket, crate, bed or all of the above. Crates are designed to be a safe space for dogs and can help reduce stressful/anxious behaviors. 

Make sure to check on your pet from time to time. If they're in their own space to keep them calm, that's wonderful, but seeing you will make them even happier and help keep them calm throughout the festivities.

5. Prepare For All Travel Scenarios​

Are you planning on traveling for Thanksgiving? Whether or not you plan to bring your pets, below are some helpful tips for both situations to ensure you and your pets are prepared for any travel plans:

  • Ensure that all tags/chip information is up-to-date.

Make sure to do this in advance, since like any business, vet offices can close earlier for the holidays so their employees can spend time with their furry family too.

  • Check all airline requirements

Different airlines may have different requirements for your pet. Confirming that you have all necessary certifications, medical records, shots (can have certain ones added depending on location of travel), and more will ensure an easier travel experience for you and your pet.

  • Book a pet-sitter in advance

Since many people travel to places during the holidays, booking a pet-sitter planned in advance will help guarantee that one is still available to you by the time your trip comes. Also, depending on your level of comfort or knowledge of the pet-sitter, it's also good to do this with enough time in advance to allow your pet (and yourself) time to become comfortable with the person, especially if they're new.

  • Buy an in-home pet camera

If you want to check in on your pet from time to time, you can invest in a pet camera to monitor your pet while you're gone. There are many different versions available today, including some with built-in treat dispensers, giving tons of options for everyone.

Dog in a kitchen walking next to man.

We hope these Thanksgiving safety tips for pets are helping you feel more confident about sharing the wonderful holiday season with your pets. With a few slight changes and modifications to your everyday plans, you can protect your pet easily this Thanksgiving!