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Tips for Mixing House Guests and Canine Family Members at Thanksgiving

Learn about how to help your dog get along with Thanksgiving guests.

When Thanksgiving rolls around, it's natural to start thinking about having houseguests over to help you celebrate. If you have a dog, take a look at these tips for helping her co-host with you.

Consider Your Dog's Personality

First, you must think realistically about your dog's personality. Is she super friendly, to the point that she may jump on or even intimidate your guests? Does she have a relaxed, laid back personality that will enjoy the company but mostly stay to herself? Is she high-anxiety and may react with fear or upset about having guests in the house?

Once you determine how your dog is most likely to react based on her previous behaviors, you can plan the best ways to make her more comfortable with Thanksgiving houseguests. For example, if she's likely to jump on people, consider keeping her leashed until she calms down. If she may get anxiety, try making her a safe room to retreat to, with a cozy bed, food and water, toys, and some nice calming music to drown out the commotion of the visitors.

Give Your Guests a Dog-Free Zone

It can go a long way toward making sure everyone's happy with the Thanksgiving arrangements to give your guests a place in their home they can go without your dog. Usually, this will be their sleeping quarters. That way, your visitors will have more control over when and how they interact with your dog.

Be Diligent About the Food Issue

Some human foods are toxic or otherwise dangerous to dogs, and you must keep this at the forefront of your mind during Thanksgiving, when there are special foods around. But you also need to make sure your guests know that some foods are dangerous for canine companions. If your dog is a beggar, keep him in his safe room while people are eating to make things easier for your guests and protect your dog from getting dangerous scraps.

Some of the foods that are either toxic to or dangerous for dogs include:

  • Chocolate
  • Xylitol
  • Fatty meat
  • Bones
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Onions and garlic
  • Alcohol

This is not an exhaustive list.

Take Special Care with Visiting Kids

Children don't always know the best way to interact with dogs. Or they may be used to their own dog, but your dog doesn't react the same way to them. Be sure to supervise any interactions with your kid guests and your dog. If the visiting children are too rough, separate them from your dog to avoid injury to either party.

With a little diligence and planning, you, your guests, and your dog will all have a great Thanksgiving.

Note: Check out this article if you are expecting house guests for Thanksgiving and have a cat: "Can Your Cat Be the Perfect Thanksgiving Host?"

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