Friday, 10 November 2017

A Paws for Gratitude - Thanksgiving with Pets {Guest Post}


Two weeks until Thanksgiving for our American furfriends! Are you ready for family, friends, and feasting fun? Today's guest post is brought to you by Casey Dickson and Courtney Heitter from Rover.com, with helpful tips on planning for your upcoming Thanksgiving celebrations.  Holidays can be crazy, hectic, and stressful at the best of times; however, they can be even moreso with pets. A little advanced planning and preparation can help keep things lower stress for you and your pets, whether you'll be celebrating at home together or across the miles this Thanksgiving. 


A Paws for Gratitude - Celebrating Thanksgiving with Pets 
Preparing for a Pet-Friendly Thanksgiving Weekend at Home or Away

Near, far, wherever you and your furry friends are for Thanksgiving (whether you’ll be with them or not), here’s how to factor them in during the holiday. Seeing as for most people (those lucky enough to have the luxury to take time off, that is), the momentous last Thursday in November in the United States rolls up into a much-anticipated four-day weekend, replete with spikes in travel costs, family logistics, and so much planning. It’s more than a good idea to get your ducks (er, turkeys) in a row ASAP now that fall has officially rolled in. 

Going elsewhere for the holidays? 

That may mean that (single tear) — your canine love can’t come along. While you’re away enjoying turkey and all of the trimmings with family and friends, you want your dog to also have a wonderful time. Finding a sitter that both you and your dog like and trust can be tricky. They will be caring for your best friend after all!  Vet potential sitters carefully so that you can be confident that your pet will be well-cared for is your absence. This is where a service like Rover.com can be really helpful in saving you time and stress. Rover sitters are thoroughly vetted, experienced, loving, and ready to watch your sweet four-legged friends. Booking a Rover sitter for your long holiday weekend means you can confidently check one more thing off your list.

You know your dog best, and having a trusted sitter who’ll take time to get to know your dog is key.  To gauge the best fit, it’s helpful to first understand what you’re looking for in a sitter, and your dog’s specific needs. How long can your dog wait in between bathroom breaks? Do you have a large dog that pulls on the leash, so an experienced walker is necessary? Does your dog require any medication? Make sure your potential sitter knows what to expect, is on board with your requirements, and capable of giving your dog the care it needs and deserves.

It is a good idea to prepare your dog for your absence, especially if it will be their first time in the care of a new sitter or in a new environment. Introducing them to potential sitters so they can get acquainted in advance can be very helpful. If your dog is particularly shy or slow to warm up to other people, try having the sitter spend time with your dog before hand to build your dog's trust and comfort. Have potential sitters spend time with you and your dog, take them dog for a walk one-on-one, and build trust in the new relationship. Ask the sitter for a garment of theirs to leave around your dog’s favorite area to help them become a familiar smell. 

Have family coming to visit or (or simply staying at home with your usual crew)?

Even when you’re not travelling, Thanksgiving weekend can still be crazy, especially if you’re planning to prepare a large feast or hosting guests. Your pets might need a little extra attention or preparation for the excitement that’s about to engulf their home. Ensure your dog has a pre-prepared safe space to escape the noise and crowd, like a bedroom with low lighting stocked with their bed and favorite toy or treats. Take your dog for a long walk/romp at the park prior to guest arrival to make sure they’re happy and tired.  Make sure that your guests understand the household pet rules and any doggy dos and don'ts, including which table foods are safe for sneaking a little treat to your dog, and which aren’t (more on that later).

Even with the best planning and preparation, holidays can be busy and stressful. A little helping hand might make things a whole lot happier for you and your dog. If you know that your dog will have difficulty adjusting to your home environment or changes in routine during the holiday, opt to have a sitter come by for a walk during the day, or take him for daycare. Rover pet gurus don’t just board pets and house sit — they can also pop in and take your pup for walks, or host your dog in their home for the day.

Don’t have a pet, but love animals? Interested in earning a little extra cash to fund the inevitable holiday expenditures? Become a Rover sitter! There’s nothing like new furry friends to make for a happy holiday weekend. 

Fido and the Feast

Whether you’re a pet owner or a pet sitter, we can all agree that it would be cruel to leave Fido out of the feast. Some tasty Thanksgiving foods are suitable for sharing with your dog, but others might spoil his (and your) night. Turkey is delicious, but skip the skin as grease and spices may not settle well with your dog and avoid cooked bones. Many fresh or cooked fruits and vegetables are dog-safe in moderation; however, foods prepared with heaps of added sugar, salt, and/or seasonings — like pumpkin-pie filling and canned cranberry sauce — aren’t suitable for your dog. Beware of toxic foods like grapes, onion, leek, scallions, and chocolate. Changes in diet and new foods, even dog-friendly ones, can cause tummy troubles so keep things under control and in careful moderation.

For an extra special Thanksgiving feast, you could also whip up some easy dog treats to make those tails wag. Simply combine 2 ½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats, 1 cup pumpkin puree, ½ cup peanut butter, 3 tablespoons honey, and a dash of cinnamon, form into balls, place in refrigerator to set….and voilĂ , you’ve got yourself some puppy treats that are holiday-perfect. Freeze any leftovers to make for happy pups any time, any day.

Whatever your approach, ensure that any food is suitable for your dog and remember that moderation is key. We all know that that it is far too easy to overindulge at the Thanksgiving feast!

About the guest author: This guest post was prepared for Dalmatian DIY by Casey Dickson and Courtney Heitter, Rover.com community members. Rover is the nation's largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers. 

Happy dogs, happy owners, happy holidays! Thanks for the tips, Casey and Courtney! I hate leaving our boys and find it so difficult to find a trusted new sitter or kennel whenever we move (which is, unfortunately, often) and advice on finding a good fit is always handy.  It is springtime here, so no harvest celebrations on the horizon, but it is always important to paws for a little gratitude no matter what the occasion or the season. Enjoy some autumn fun for us, whether with your owners, guests, walkers, or sitters!   Roll in the leaves, chase them in the wind, sniff all of the good autumn smells, and have a wonderful time. Work off your Thanksgiving dinner and treats together. :)

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