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Fun Ways to Include Your Pet in Your Thanksgiving Plans



November 23, 2022

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Thanksgiving is a holiday dedicated to bringing people together to celebrate the many things that we are all thankful for. For us pet lovers, our four-legged companions sit high on our ‘thankful’ list. Therefore, it is only right that we find ways to give thanks to them on this delicious holiday. Normally, on holidays when there is lots of food being passed around and many people passing through our homes we recommend you keep your pet away from the chaos, but it just doesn’t feel right to exclude them on this day. Instead, we are here to help you find PAWsome ways to include your pet in the holiday fun. From fun and playful games to fixing them their own version of a thanksgiving meal, we have got your furry friend covered. However, it's still important to remember to keep your pet comfortable during the party and safe from toxic foods. If you have a pup that gets anxious around lots of people it may still be best to keep them away from the crowd, but that doesn’t mean you can’t engage in pre- and post-party activities with them. Keep reading for a few fun ways to include your pet in your Thanksgiving plans.

Depending on where you live, Thanksgiving comes at a perfect time of year when the weather is just starting to get cold but is still enjoyable for you and your pup. Instead of spending your Thanksgiving cooped up in the house, try taking the party outside, and don’t forget your pooches. Our pets love the outdoors so what better way to include them in some Thanksgiving fun than setting up some pet-friendly outdoor games?

Four pet-friendly games that everyone can enjoy:

  1. Hide & Seek: Stock up on your pet's favorite treats from the store and hide them around your backyard under the fall leaves. This is a super fun game that can test your pup's sense of smell and also allows them to ruffle through the leaves!
  2. Trail of Treats: With your pet's favorite treats you can practice the “Stay” command while you place a trail of treats (10-15 feet apart) through your backyard. Once you have all of the treats placed you can release your pup and watch them follow the treat trail you made. This is a great game to practice commands and watch as your pup is focused on finding the next treat.
  3. Backyard Football: Thanksgiving is a holiday full of food and also football. Get the whole family and pups involved in a family-friendly competition. Your pet can join the fun by chasing the ball back ‘n forth with the whole family.
  4. After-dinner hike: To help your pet and you digest the heavy meals that Thanksgiving brings, try going on an after-dinner hike or walk.  If you’re planning on being gone for most of the day on Thanksgiving you could also take your pet on a walk or hike before you leave to help them burn off some energy.

There are plenty of other games you, your family, and furry family member can all take part in. It's the bond you create with your pet that makes getting out to enjoy the cool air so enjoyable. Whatever game you decide to play your pet will just be happy to be there and feel included on this day that is meant to bring everyone together.

The first thought that comes to mind when someone mentions Thanksgiving is food, all of the appetizing food that we humans get to consume. As a pet parent, I understand how hard it is to enjoy a delicious meal while your pet is watching you or locked away in the other room. Instead of excluding your pup from the tasty food, you can cook up an appetizing Thanksgiving dish that is healthy for them too. Just remember it is all about portion control, don’t give them too much or they may get sick.

Here are six flavorful foods that your pup can eat with you on Thanksgiving:

  1. A small amount of Turkey: You can feed your pet a tiny amount of turkey as long as you remove the skin and bones.
  2. Carrots: Cut the carrots up into small pieces so they don’t choke. Also, double-check that they are not seasoned.
  3. Unseasoned corn, not the cob: Small amounts of corn are great for dogs and are usually found in dog food. The cob can cause them to choke and have an intestinal blockage if swallowed.
  4. Unseasoned Pumpkin Puree: Plain, canned, or pureed pumpkin is a great healthy treat for your pup. Never give them any spiced pumpkin mix.
  5. Unseasoned green beans: Prior to cooking your Green Bean Casserole you can set a few raw or cooked green beans aside. Make sure the green beans are cut into small pieces and that they have no added spices or seasonings.
  6. Rice: As long as your pooch is not diabetic, cooked white rice is perfectly safe for them. Avoid brown rice as that is harder for them to digest.

When you’re cooking Thanksgiving dinner you can set a small amount of these ingredients aside and make a Thanksgiving bowl for your pup that they will most definitely enjoy and be so thankful for. Just remember to keep the portion sizes small and avoid any toxic foods. If your pet has allergies or other health conditions we recommend you consult with your vet before preparing a Thanksgiving meal for them. As a precautionary measure, we also encourage you to keep the Pet Poison Hotline number available to you at all times in case of emergency 888-426-4435. Some symptoms to watch out for include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, agitation, increased thirst, an elevated heart rate, and in severe cases, seizures.

Six Toxic Thanksgiving foods to avoid:

  1. Alcohol: Alcohol may be flowing on Thanksgiving night so make sure it is out of reach from your pet. Even small amounts can result in alcohol toxicity with symptoms that can include drooling, lethargy, weakness, and collapse.
  2. Coffee/Tea: Although small amounts of coffee may not have a huge effect on your pet, larger amounts, grounds, beans, or tea bags can have a toxic effect on your pet.
  3. Garlic: All parts of the Allium family are very toxic for dogs. Just a small amount can cause symptoms such as decreased appetite, weakness, lethargy, and fainting.
  4. Grapes/Raisins: These can be highly toxic for pets. Even small amounts can cause kidney failure.
  5. Potatoes: For a long time it was thought that cooked potatoes are okay for our furry friends, but a recent study has said otherwise. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found that pets that eat rich foods such as potatoes are subject to heart failure. However, studies are still ongoing.
  6. Raw yeast/dough: Plain baked bread is okay for your dog, but never feed it raw yeast or dough. This can be highly toxic and cause severe life-threatening bloating

If at any point during your Thanksgiving weekend or in general, notice that your pet is displaying symptoms caused by intaking a toxic food, call your vet or the Pet Poison Hotline immediately.

We hope that you can incorporate some of these tips into your Thanksgiving weekend and show your pooch just how thankful you are for their unconditional love. Pawtocol wishes you, your family, and your furry bestie a very happy Thanksgiving. The Pawtocol team is grateful for all of our Pawtocol Partners and Pawtocol community members who dedicate their time and energy to improving the lives of pets and pet owners.