How to Have a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving with Your Dog


Thanksgiving is almost here, making it a great time to reflect on all the reasons why we’re thankful for our dogs--especially pugs. It’s important to have a happy and safe Thanksgiving with your dog.

From their cute squishy little faces to their silly antics, pugs certainly are special and wonderful. They light up our lives with their sweet personalities and funny little quirks. So if you want to be sure your dog has a happy and safe Thanksgiving, here are some tips for a great holiday.

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FAQS: How to Have a Safe Thanksgiving with Your Dog

Should My Pug Travel With Us To Grandma’s House?

Over the river and through the woods--should your pug go with you to visit relatives? Well, it can be a complicated question. Typically pugs do well with travel, but they are also creatures that love routine. So, depending on how comfortable you are with bringing your pug along as your co-pilot (and how willing you are to keep a close eye on them during the holiday) is up to you.

Most pugs are comfortable home alone for 6-8 hours maximum. So, if you plan to be gone for longer, make arrangements to have a neighbor or friend take your pug for a walkie. If you decide to take your pug with you to Thanksgiving dinner, remember to practice safe dog travel. Always buckle your pug in for safety using a crash-tested harness. Alternatively, your pug can also ride in a crate or crash-tested dog car seat like the Pupsaver.

Once you arrive at dinner, it’s tempting to let your pug have free-range, but keep in mind new environments may not be dog-proofed. Christmas trees, low electric cords, candy dishes, and resident kitty cats may all present surprise hazards to your pug. If possible keep your buddy on a leash, or confined to one or two new rooms so they aren’t overwhelmed. Keep an eye on your pug at all times.

Can My Pug Have Thanksgiving Dinner?

One universal truth about pugs is that they all LOVE food. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes--if you asked your pug, they’d have a helping of every dish at the table! But there are many people foods that aren’t terrific for you pug. For the full list of foods pugs can’t eat, check out our feeding time post.

As a general rule dogs should avoid: raisins, grapes, avocado, rich meats, artificial sweetener, chocolate, caffeine, garlic, onion, high-sodium/high-fat/high-sugar foods. Yes, that rules out many items, including turkey. It can be too rich for your little buddy’s tummy and result in diarrhea. If you must give your pug a bite--stick to white meat in very small quantities.

One Thanksgiving treat that’s really good for your pug is pumpkin! Pumpkin can help add fiber to your pug’s diet and can also be helpful for anal gland issues. But, before you pass the pumpkin pie, which is too high in fat and sugar for your dog, try making some festive pumpkin treats!

Pumpkin Cookies for Dogs

½ can of pumpkin puree (100% pure pumpkin ONLY)

1 ½ ripe bananas

1 ½ cups flour (whole-wheat preferred) -or- 1 cup of finely ground oats/oat flour

½ teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of all natural peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients into a dough, using your hands. If dough seems dry or thick, add water by the teaspoon as needed to thin out. Roll dough on a flat surface and cut into bite-sized treats (or use a cookie cutter). Lay cookies on a cookie sheet covered with parchment (or a silicone baking liner). Bake 10-12 minutes. Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container.

What Are Some Common Holiday Hazards for Dogs?

There are many hazards that are can come up during the holiday season for your pug. Lilies and amaryllis flowers are poisonous as are poinsettias. Christmas trees (and the water in the tree stand) can upset their tummies as well.

Christmas ornaments look like fun toys but many are breakable and can present choking hazards if your pug chews on them. Pugs can also be tempted by the delicious smells of pumpkin spice candles, soaps, and potpourri, so don’t leave your pug unattended with the decorations.

Winter snow and ice can also cause some concerns for your little buddy too. Noses get chapped and funky and may require some coconut oil to moisturize every so often. Protect their little paws and rinse them after walks--ice melt can contain toxins. Antifreeze is also dangerous for your pug, so never let them around the garage unsupervised.

How Should I Prepare My Dog for Guests?

Hosting Pugsgiving this year? Pugs love to entertain and the friendly little dogs love to meet people. Let them give each guest a sniff and make an introduction. Help your pug practice good manners by discouraging them from jumping up on guests, begging for food (or trying to steal from the buffet). Let your guests know that your pug is very well fed, as they will probably try to convince everyone they’re starving, and people food can be bad for your pug.

Remember that a tired pug is a well-behaved pug. Make time to fit in a few extra walkies in the morning so your pug has plenty of exercise before the guests arrive. It may be tempting to give your pug a light breakfast in preparation for extra treats, but keeping them well-fed with their own dog food will help alleviate some of the begging for table treats.

Take your pug along on the after-dinner walk with family, so they can burn off some of their dinner (and energy). Pugs love the attention and will enjoy being part of the family activities.

Our sweet pugs give us so much to be thankful for. For many of us our pets are the light of our lives and really help us feel loved. This Thanksgiving as you’re counting all the things you’re grateful for, don’t forget to add pugs to the list. Better yet, support your local pug rescue with a charitable gift this holiday season!


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