The extended family is arriving any minute, or you’re headed out to meet them. A flurry of activities and human interaction await, stuffing your turkey day full of true thanksgiving. A four-legged friend could get lost in that shuffle, but dog lovers know our companion is the one of the things for which we’re most thankful.
Time to give thanks for our dogs
Let’s talk turkey with these four tips on how to pamper your dog as a primary part of your Thanksgiving holiday.
1. Exercise first (followed by leftovers)
You may spend a lot of time around the table, so make sure your day begins with attention and exercise for your canine resident. A long walk will go a long way to express your thanks, and tiring out your dog will help them be less anxious and behave better if company is coming over.
If you’re heading out without them later, it also helps them relax and sleep better while you’re away—or find a pet sitter who’ll treat your dog like family while you’re out playing.
2. Dress ’em up for festive fun
Technically, a female mastiff and a small springer spaniel were the original four-legged immigrants who came ashore with their human companions on the Mayflower. But any breed can get dressed up and join in the spirit of the season! They may even tip their hat to you like this little darling:
There are innumerable options to dress your dog in holiday attire and make them a festive spotlight in your holiday celebration. Here’s a fantastic tutorial on turning your dog into the real turkey this year.
If you think that costume is for the birds, you can check out Buzzfeed and Pinterest for even more inspired ideas. Feeling crafty? Take a holiday cardigan and turn it into an artful expression of thanks. Martha Stewart’s site has simple instructions and a video to produce a canine cardigan coat.
For the pint-sized pooch, you may even be able to use even a Thanksgiving-themed sock:
If you’re not feeling crafty, there are plenty of purchasable options to explore as well.
3. Let them gobble gobble
Now that you’ve covered a workout and what to wear, it’s time to plan Thanksgiving dining for your dog. First, every four-legged forager is unique, so you need to learn what your dog desires.
Let’s talk turkey: and at least once a year they deserve it. Share some scraps from your table, just make sure all meaty offerings are boneless and well-cooked. The ASPCA has great safety tips so our spoiled dogs are also safe and healthy.
Beyond sharing, why not aim higher and make them something special? If your dog is a foodie, you can try your hand at cooking for dogs and make these Pumpkin Turkey Rissoles:
Want to start with something a little simpler—perhaps for a more sensitive palate? Try these Turkey and Stuffing Biscuits:
Hankering for dog dessert? Check out our recipe for Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Treats.
If prep time is limited, you can also get Thanksgiving treats for your dog from places like Four Your Paws Only: baked treats and bite-sized rewards that look like pilgrim hats, turkey legs, pumpkins, and more can be a quick way to provide themed treats.
Not only can you fill their stomachs—you can pick up a few holiday chew toys to keep those salivating jaws occupied while they’re smelling the turkey and trimmings.
4. Make Black Friday Bark Friday
Maybe you were away for the evening, or perhaps you just want more time with your special friend. Make the day after Thanksgiving full of dog-focused together time and celebrate your passion for all things pooch.
Macy’s isn’t the only parade, as the National Dog Show sponsored by Purina will follow right on the heels of those floats and balloons. Cheer and bark for your favorites together and enjoy the competition.
Adding more fur to Friday, FOX is hosting Hilary Swanks’ Great American Dog-a-Thon this year. That means two canine-cuddling bookends for the day, resting after yesterday’s food coma with time in between to head outdoors for walks and playtime.
Take your gratitude to the next level this year, and be creative: you can never give enough thanks for the unconditional love your dog gives you every day of the year.