A Pet Owner's Guide to a Happy, Healthy Thanksgiving

With unfamiliar people, loud music and intoxicatingly aromatic food, a Thanksgiving party can be stressful for both you and your pets. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure that your furry friends will enjoy the party experience as much as you will. From preparing your home to keeping your four-legged companions full, here are my best tips and tricks for making your Thanksgiving party truly pet-friendly.

Prepare Your Home and Pet


Arty Cat Scratcher by P.L.A.Y.

Dogs and cats can exhibit aggressive tendencies around strangers, and even the friendliest pets can get overwhelmed in a room full of guests. Before a large gathering, prepare your pets by bringing them to places where they can get used to loud music and groups of people, and reinforce obedience rules. Let your guests know that your home is pet-friendly and learn about any allergies they may have. Before guests arrive, bathe your pets, and have your house and carpets thoroughly cleaned. Lastly, give them lots of love and exercise before the party, so they are less likely to seek attention or act out later. 

Be Smart with Decorations

Wreath and photo by Jennifer Lutz

Wreath and photo by Jennifer Lutz

It is important to keep your furry housemates in mind when planning a Thanksgiving party. Food-scented décor can add an autumn ambience to your home, but they can also attract your curious pets, and in turn, result in possible injuries. Also, edible decorations like pumpkin centerpieces may contain strings or adhesives that can be harmful when ingested, so it’s best to avoid them. Go ahead and decorate, but take care to secure your Thanksgiving decorations or place them high on your doors or mantels, away from your pet's reach.   

Keep Your Pets Happy and Full

Keep Your Pets Happy and Full


Come Thanksgiving Day, your home is guaranteed to smell amazing, and our four-legged companions are sure to notice. Keep them full and satisfied by whipping up healthy, homemade treats that are perfect for fall. These easy homemade canine treats are great for any time of year, while these crunchy treats from Design Sponge are the perfect Thanksgiving snack for our feline friends. Remember to reinforce good behavior by rewarding them handsomely, and be firm with your guests on rules against feeding from the dinner table and giving out unapproved treats.

Include Them in the Festivities

Include Pets in the Thanksgiving Festivities


After so much preparation, it would be a shame to not include our pets in the festivities! And what better way to include them than with a holiday costume? There are a variety of Thanksgiving-themed costumes out there, and of course, DIY is a great option. If you have the time, this cute Turkey costume by Kelly Bryden of Brit.Co is perfect for smaller dogs and cats. Make sure to keep your dog or cat on a leash when the party starts and take them around to meet everybody only when the party settles down.

Have a Human-Free Zone

Snuggle Bed by P.L.A.Y.

Snuggle Bed by P.L.A.Y.

Both your guests and pets may not want to be around each other throughout the party, so prepare a designated pet space in your home. This way, your pets can relax without strangers around, and persons with allergies won’t have to worry about allergic reactions. Make sure to leave its bed, food, water, toys and treats within reach.

Do you have any questions about this party guide for celebrating Thanksgiving with pets? Ask us in the comments section below!

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