It's the wonderful season of giving. While for most that means a present under the tree. But a lot of times for our dogs, that means an extra dose of people food!
While there is nothing wrong with showing your affections with the occasional table scrap, there is a way to do so safely. Below are some tips and tricks we've learned over the years.
Things to avoid giving your dog:
- Cooked bones: These can be dangerous to your dogs digestive tract, so they are best avoided. This is especially true for Turkey bones! But even ham bones and such can be dangerous, so they are best avoided all together.
- Sweets & Fruity deserts: While not all sweets are bad for our furry ones, it can be tricky to know for sure. Things like Raisins can be toxic to dogs, making even a harmless holiday cookie into an issue. Keep healthy dog treats on hand for then the family decides to snack together.
- Heavily seasoned meats: While we may prefer that well seasoned turkey skin, our dogs stomaches surely do not. Every dogs tolerance is different, so you need to know your pup. But for most of us, it's best not to test the waters, and stick to the less seasoned treats. Turkey breast meat is a great dog friendly snack, sans skin.
Tips and Tricks:
- Keep healthy treats on hand: Having your tried and true treats near by will make things so much easier amongst the holiday craziness. We often use a cookie jar to have treats within a quick reach.
- Lay down some ground rules: While I love to see my dog spoiled by relatives, there is always a well defined boundary. There are many ways to set a boundary so fido doesn't get over fed by the entire household. I, for instance, prefer my company to ask before giving my dog a treat. That way I can see what it is, and track how much she's getting. But you can do something as simple as 'only x number of these treats per day.' Get creative, just don't be afraid to make 'treat rules' a priority.
- Make your dog work for it: This one sounds simple, because it is! Just because it's the holidays doesn't mean treats HAVE to be free. Making your dog work a little bit to get their reward is both good for their brain, and a great way to combat holiday energy. Plus your relatives will love getting your dog to 'sit up' or 'play dead'!
So what does a holiday dinner look like in our household with 8 dogs?
Honestly, not as crazy as you might think. During any big dinner gathering, we utilize our dogs place skills. That means we give the dogs a designated area where they must stay until released. We often use place beds for this, but sometimes substitute crates or dog beds (even the couch). We typically put all the dogs in a place right before setting the table. After we have all had our fill, we free the dogs as a group. From here we usually designate one person to hand out goodies one at a time to the pups. Because we stick to this routine time and time again, it goes off flawlessly more often than not.