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How To Safely Include Your Dog This Thanksgiving

Table of Contents

A Labrador retriever poking his head out from under the table setting his head on his owners lap begging for the food that his owner is eating.

Thanksgiving is many people’s favorite holiday. It’s a time for coming together as a family and preparing a feast fit for a king. The weather is brisk but beautiful, football is on the television, and everyone eats probably way too much. A question many people often have is “How do I include my dog in all of this?” After all, your dog is a part of your family. We’ll cover the best ways to include your best friend and make this Thanksgiving one to remember.


Risks of Thanksgiving For Dogs

There are some concerns and things to keep in mind with this holiday regarding your dog, as there are with any holiday. While Thanksgiving is a lot of fun, it’s important to make sure you, your family, and your dog are all safe.

A Dog With Anxiety

It’s important to prepare your pup if you plan on having extended family over. Many dogs do not mind a bunch of people in their house, especially if it is people they know. Oftentimes though, Thanksgiving is a time where we have extended family over and maybe your dog doesn’t know these people. It’s important to know if you have a dog that gets anxious around strangers or anxious around lots of people in close proximity to them. A good way to proactively deal with your dog’s anxiety and give them a better Thanksgiving experience is to provide them with  CBD infused products.


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CBD is proven to reduce anxiety and stress levels, especially in dogs. Giving your dog CBD before your family shows up will ensure that your pup is relaxed and not on edge throughout the holiday.

Food Risks

A yellow lab being fed from his owner at the dinner table

Not every food on Thanksgiving is suitable for your pet. While it’s good practice to avoid giving your pup food from the table anyways, make sure to be extra careful about what you slip to them on Thanksgiving, be especially careful if you give your dog any turkey. While a dog can eat very little turkey, make sure that the turkey you give them is fully-cooked and has no bones in it. Bones are serious issues for a dog’s digestive tract and fully-cooked turkey gets rid of the risk of your dog getting salmonella. Be sure to not give your dog any  raw bread dough, as the yeast in the raw dough will continue to convert the sugars in the dough to carbon dioxide gas, resulting in bloat which can be life-threatening for your dog. In general, it is a good idea to keep an eye on any sorts of foods that are  poisonous to dogs that are common during Thanksgiving, including grapes, raisins, onions, and chocolate.


How To Include Your Dog In Your Thanksgiving Celebrations

Now that we got the risks out of the way, there are many fun ways to include your dog in this holiday. Including your dog is important since your dog is just another member of the family.

A Dog-Friendly Thanksgiving Dinner

Consider adding a little bit of  dog-friendly Thanksgiving food to their food bowl. This can be things like bits of fully-cooked turkey without bones, some dog-friendly vegetables like sweet potatoes or green beans. These little things will make them feel even more included in the holiday. Be sure to not give them too much turkey, as this can cause health issues! Adding water to their food bowl may make it a bit messy but it helps with switching up their normal dinner for the special occasion.

Fetch After A Feast

After the activities of cooking and eating have died down, take this chance to head outside with your pup and  play some fetch. They’ll enjoy the activity, and you and your family will enjoy being outdoors for a bit following a big meal.

A black and white boarder collie chasing a red ball outside.

A Dog Preoccupying Activity

If your dog looks bored or is bothering people at the table for food, maybe consider giving them something to occupy their time. Something like a bully stick will make it so they stay occupied for a while and stay away from bothering people at the table.

A Dog-Friendly Dessert

When it comes time for the traditional Thanksgiving desserts like pumpkin pie, you can include your pup in this too! Save some purepumpkin puree with nothing added from making the pumpkin pie and give some to your dog. When everyone sits down for dessert, give some puree right to your dog or put some in their food bowl. This way they get to have dessert with everyone else in the form of a tasty and healthy dog-friendly snack.

Keeping these tips in mind will let you, your family, and your dog have a fun and safe Thanksgiving celebration. Make sure to keep all food not fit for dogs away from the table edges, and be sure to not let your guests give your dog any scraps without asking you first!


Meet The Author 

Grant Withers

Canine Specialist & Writer

Grant is an award-winning writer for SitStay with a passion for pets and especially dogs! Grant loves writing about furry little goofballs and aims to educate pet parents about anything and everything regarding their dogs.



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