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How to Make Sure Your Thanksgiving With Pets is a Bounty of Blessings

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Thanksgiving is a special holiday that brings together family and friends, but it also can carry some hazards for pets. Whether introducing Fido to house guests, hitting the road with Whiskers, or deciding which parts of the family feast are safe for your pet to enjoy, leading Johnstown, New York, pet supplies retailer, Harvey’s Pet, shares some tips and know-how to ensure your Thanksgiving is one of bountiful joy.

Expecting House Guests?

If you are expecting many house guests, you may be tempted to keep your dog in another room. However, dogs are social creatures—and they can become stressed if kept away from the action.  Just like with people, dogs’ reactions to strangers are not a one-size-fits-all. “Some people are huggers – they love engaging with new people and having a tactile experience,” says Paula Nowak, CPDT-KA, CTDI, a canine behavior consultant. “Then you have others who never like to hug, have a bigger [personal] space bubble and likely avoid a lot of social interaction.”

The same is true of dog socialization: some pups love interacting with people, while others need time to adjust to new situations. They may be a little suspicious of strangers and need more personal space. “Think of your individual dog to see what kind of people they enjoy interacting with, what they like to do with new people, and how big their world should be,” Nowak says. Another thing to keep in mind, according to Nowak, is that people are not entitled to pet or interact with your dog. If your dog is uncomfortable meeting people or rushing the introduction phase, you have the right to stop the process, remove your pet from the situation, and let Fido decompress in their crate or a safe area of your home with some soft music and a favorite chewy or toy.

Traveling for the Holiday?

On the other hand, if you plan to travel with your pet this Thanksgiving, don’t expect your dog’s personality to change just because you’re on vacation. If your dog tends to be wild and destructive at home, you can bet that this zebra won’t change its stripes at someone else’s house either.

Dogs are at the same emotional level as a two year old,” says Jen Jones of yourdogadviser.com. “You wouldn’t take your two-year-old to a friend’s house and say, ‘You have to behave now.’ You have to have the same rules everywhere you go so whether you are at your house or someone else’s house, your dog will behave in the same way anywhere.”

This is where the safety and comfort of crate training can be helpful, as can learning a few basic obedience commands such as “sit,” and “stay.” Not only does this help offer a portable means of containment for an overly excited dog or young puppy, but a shy or fearful dog will find their crate to be a source of familiar comfort in a new and strange environment. Harvey’s Pet offers a number of training programs to help your four-legged friend be an excellent citizen at home and a welcome houseguest when away.

Lastly, even if your pets are comfortable around guests, make sure you watch them closely, especially when people are entering or leaving your home. While you’re welcoming hungry guests and collecting coats, a four-legged family member may make a break for it out the door and become lost.

Make sure your pet has proper identification with your current contact information – particularly a microchip with up-to-date, registered information. That way, if they do sneak out, they’re more likely to be returned to you. If your pet isn’t already microchipped, talk to your veterinarian about the benefits of this simple and inexpensive procedure.

Which Turkey Day Delicacies are Safe for Pets?

With the nickname “Turkey Day,” food obviously plays a major part in the celebration. But some turkey day delicacies aren’t safe for pets, so it’s important to know what pet can and can’t eat. Ensure you know which Thanksgiving foods are safe for dogs and be sure your guests are also aware. If anyone wants to treat your dog to a snack, put aside a couple dog biscuits they can give to your fur friend throughout the day.

So, how’s a person to know what they CAN and CANNOT feed their four-legged friend with the big puppy dog eyes? People shouldn’t give dogs seasoned, raw or undercooked turkey, the ASPCA says. Poultry bones can damage your pet’s digestive tract. And holiday sweets can contain ingredients that are poisonous to pets.

Eating turkey or turkey skin – sometimes even a small amount – can cause a life-threatening condition in pets known as pancreatitis. Fatty foods are hard for animals to digest, and many foods that are healthy for people are poisonous to pets – including onions, raisins and grapes. If you want to share a Thanksgiving treat with your pet, make or buy a treat that is made just for them.

Consider some Thanksgiving choices carried by Harvey’s Pet which are made especially for dogs and cats, such as Merrick’s Thanksgiving Day Dinner in Gravy. This grain-free recipe’s first ingredient is big home-style chunks of real, deboned USDA inspected turkey, prepared with chicken, sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans and granny smith apples all in a gravy that your pet is sure to love. Available in 2.75 oz, 5 oz and 12.7 oz cans, both in-store and online and harveyspet.com.

Raw dough is a no-go also, but it’s safe to give dogs a little baked bread. “When a dog or cat ingests raw bread dough, the yeast continues to convert the sugars in the dough to carbon dioxide gas and alcohol,” the ASPCA says. That can result in a pet’s hospitalization, according to the organization. Pet owners should also keep them from sticking their noses in any dessert batter because of the risk of food poisoning, the organization says. Chocolate, coffee, caffeine, milk and dairy are also on the “do not feed” list, according to the organization.

While some vegetables like sweet potatoes, raw green beans, unseasoned carrots, pumpkin and corn are okay for dogs to eat, people should avoid giving them garlic, onions, cooked green beans, mushrooms and mashed potatoes. The ASPCA says that just “a taste of mashed potatoes…shouldn’t pose a problem” though.

Apples are also okay to give dogs, the ASPCA says. But a lot of fruits and nuts should be avoided, including:grapes/raisins, avocado, citrus plants, coconut/coconut oil, macadamia nuts, almonds, pecans and walnuts, according to the organization.

And don’t forget to secure your trash can (or hide it) so your pet can’t get into it. A turkey carcass sitting out on the carving table, or left in a trash container that is open or easily opened, could be deadly to your precious pet. Dispose of turkey carcasses and bones – and anything used to wrap or tie the meat, such as strings, bags and packaging –  in a covered, tightly secured trash bag placed in a closed trash container outdoors (or behind a closed, locked door).

If you believe your pet has been poisoned or eaten something it shouldn’t have, call your veterinarian or local veterinary emergency clinic immediately. You may also want to call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline at (888) 426-4435. Signs of pet distress include: sudden changes in behavior, depression, pain, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Thanksgiving helps remind us that there are so many things to be thankful for. Helen Keller, a huge animal lover who advocated for them for most of her life said it well: “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen – or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” Rare is the person who shares their home with a pet who doesn’t share their heart with them as well. Happy Thanksgiving!

About Harvey’s Pet

For more than 34 years, Harvey’s Pet has been a local family owned business in Johnstown, NY, specializing in high-quality pet food, freshly baked pet treats, and a carefully curated collection of exceptional pet products and supplies. The store’s staff (online, by phone or email, and in-store) is committed to continually learning more about pet care, award-winning pet products, and animal nutrition, so they can provide pet parents with educated recommendations and an unparalleled retail experience. Harvey’s Pet brick-and-mortar location also offers other services such as boarding, daycare, training, grooming, a self-service dog wash, pet adoptions, nutritional counseling, and more.

To shop for more great gifts for the special four-legged goblin in your life, visit https://harveyspet.com for thousands of other award-winning or hard-to-find goodies. Harvey’s Pet staff can also offer personalized gift suggestions for your best pet friend. Purchase online for in-store pickup, curbside pickup, local same day delivery, no contact delivery, and domestic and international shipping.

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