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Thanksgiving Gathering: Activities for Fido during dinner

Thanksgiving is a time for family to be together, and dogs are no exception. Whether you’ve had your dog for years or introducing a new puppy into the home, the holiday excitement can be quite a lot for your pooch to process.

Many houses have multiple guests over, and some participate in high-energy activities that can last all day. While these festivities occupy most of our attention, let’s not forget the members of the family who we may be most thankful for: our dogs. So, we’ve compiled 6 tips for how to keep your pup busy during Thanksgiving dinner, so everyone can enjoy a delicious, stress-free holiday.

1. Distract your dog with toys.

While everyone is busy eating, your dog might be comfortable simply laying with some of his favorite toys. As Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks, consider getting your pup a new toy as a thank-you for all of their cuddly cuteness.

2. Cook your dog some special food.

Thanksgiving gives us time with friends and family, but it also gives us some of the yummiest food we’ll eat all year! Your dog might want to share in the festivities and could appreciate a special bowl just for him. Most dogs have no trouble digesting sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin, turkey, and bread in moderation, so get creative! (Remember to always check in with a trusted veterinarian before changing your dog’s diet).

3. Ask Aunt Fran to bring Fido along. 

While some dogs are comfortable in crowds, others can be more at ease if they have a furry friend present with them. This can also keep your dog distracted enough to keep the noise levels down during dinner and the evening that follows. However, we recommend putting two dogs together who already know one another, because not all dog-to-dog introductions are initially peaceful.

4. Allocate your dog to the kid’s table.

For many holiday occasions, families will segregate the crowd into adults at one table and children at another. If this is a tradition in your family, consider introducing the kiddos to your dog. This can be especially helpful if your dog is high-energy and loves attention, because this can help your dog feel like he’s getting the love he needs when many people come into his living space.

5. Keep your dog in an enclosed space. 

If your dog has high-anxiety and does well away from the action, consider keeping your pup in a bedroom or crate where he would feel comfortable. Some families who have multiple dogs opt to let them roam free in an enclosed yard, which can allow the dogs to play together but steer clear of a busy household that could induce anxiety.

6. Give your dog some extra love.

At the heart of the festivities, your dog may feel as if he’s being swept under the rug. Spending some time talking to family while petting your beloved pup can let him know that no one is being forgotten. This can also be a helpful tool in introducing your dog to many family members, which can be scary the first time.