Photo of cat staring at the roasted turkey

Celebrating Thanksgiving with friends and family is a festive occasion that requires additional preparation, particularly if you own pets. New members to your home and dinner table will undoubtedly excite your dogs and cats. We wish to share helpful ideas in the interest of harmony at this special time of harvest.

If your dog is on the timid or fearful side, ask your guests to reserve affection until your dog has a chance to sniff them out first. For seriously shy dogs, you may want to have treats on hand for your guests to dispense as an offering.

On the other hand, some dogs are so excited by new "Pilgrims", they rush to greet with wild enthusiasm and jump on your guests. A Shitzu at the shin is more tolerable than the loving Lab who may reach your guest’s chests!

Establish house rules in advance. The most important is to create "Fort Knox" procedures with open doors. Most dogs (and some cats) will bolt out an open door in anticipation of adventure beyond.

Consider a baby gate to make sure your pets can’t escape during the commotion; a simple gate that is spring-loaded with rubber bumpers, secured to both sides of an open entryway, will remind guests of the importance of safe entry and exit, while securing your pets on the other side.

Most dogs enjoy sniffing people and objects, especially those yummy, new smells in their suitcase. Make sure your guest’s personal items aren’t lying around, as some dogs will chew on shoes or ingest socks. The same "hide it" rule applies to medications, toiletries and other small items that could evoke a choke if ingested.

Establish a safe place for your pets to escape the noise and confusion. Put their beds, toys, food and water in a separate room for their retreat. If possible, add a radio tuned to classical music for added calming.

If your holiday guests include small children, this safe place should exclude them. Both pets and kids should be supervised when together.

As your festive dinner ensues, make sure people food, alcohol and sweets aren’t accidentally dropped on the floor or left unattended for Fido or Feline consumption.

Turkey bones are NOT safe for dogs because they splinter easily and can cause choking. Don’t leave the kitchen until your leftovers are securely stored. Some breeds are notorious for finding their way to the garbage and can easily inhale the turkey carcass... an emergency visit waiting to happen!

Photo of cute dog

The day after Thanksgiving is the perfect time to give your dogs some exercise to calm down from the festivities. They rely on their routines and holiday celebrations throw them off their game.

Enlist guests to join in a walk, which helps us humans burn added calories from holiday indulgence as well. Dogs and cats crave consistency, so engage your household guests in the process to ensure that your pets aren’t neglected... especially if you plan to be gone all day for shopping specials after Thanksgiving.

If you will be away from home on Black Friday, consider purchasing the Petcube Play pet camera in advance; an interactive pet monitor system that allows you to check on your pets while you check out to entertain your guests.

If your dog is unable to cope with the holiday stress, consider boarding them.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today's Guest Author is Tori Levitt, Owner & Canine Concierge of Doolittle’s Doghouse, in Arizona, which offers cage-free boarding in the private homes of professional pet sitters. They will gladly dote on your dog(s) so you can love on your friends and family without guilt!

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