Give Your Pets a Happy Thanksgiving! – Our Top Tips


Holidays are stressful times for our pets. So what can you do to give your pets a happy Thanksgiving?

Pets often get overlooked on Thanksgiving. Everyone is too busy focusing on preparing (and eating!) food and gathering with family. If you ignore your pets on Thanksgiving, they will be more likely to misbehave. Here are some tips on how to care for your pets over the holidays so they will enjoy them, too.

If you are hosting Thanksgiving, provide your pets with a safe place to escape crowds.

Even the most outgoing pets can get stressed over a large number of strangers in their home. It’s helpful to keep a bedroom or basement door open so shy pets can escape to a quiet place when they need a break. It may also be helpful to move cages to a quieter spot for Thanksgiving. Don’t forget to check with your guests about any allergies they may have to animals. You may need to vacuum and put pets in a different room for allergic guests. Finally, make sure none of your guests are afraid of your pets. If this is the case, you need to put your pet in a different room than your fearful guest so that everyone can have a happy Thanksgiving!

cat hiding under a blanket

If you are traveling for Thanksgiving, make care plans for your pets ahead of time.

The holiday season is busy for everyone. Finding a pet sitter will most likely be more difficult at this time of year. For low maintenance pets, a teenaged neighbor can make a great pet sitter. For example, my family has used this option for low-key cats. For dogs or other higher-maintenance pets, you should consider hiring a professional pet sitter. Pet sitters can either make multiple daily visits to your home or even stay at your home. The last option is to send your pet out to stay at a kennel, veterinary office, or pet sitter’s home. The best option will depend on your pet’s unique personality.

Share the delicious food!

Delicious smells will fill your house on Thanksgiving, so be sure to share your feast with your pet! Most dogs and cats love to eat turkey. Just be sure to remove any bones from the meat. Not only are bones a choking hazard, but bird bones are particularly likely to break, leaving sharp, jagged edges. Make sure that your garbage is pet-proof or your animal friends may attempt to feed themselves. Animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs will appreciate a share of your salad greens. Finally, make sure you know which foods are toxic to pets, such as chocolate and onions.

a dog looking at a cookie

If you don’t want to share your own food, or you just want to treat your pet, you can make a special treat just for them. You can even stay with the Thanksgiving theme by making something seasonal, such as pumpkin dog biscuits. If you have cats, try out some turkey balls.

Get some exercise together!

After sharing all your delicious food, both you and your pet would benefit from some exercise. If you have a dog, take a stroll around your neighborhood or go enjoy the scenery at one of Vermont’s beautiful hiking trails. If you have cats, drag around their favorite toys for them to chase. Even if you have a pet fish, your children will enjoy having a dance party near the fish tank. Any movement is better than nothing!

a girl hugging her pet rabbit

Finally, remember to be patient with your pets.

Thanksgiving can be a stressful time for you, but it can also be stressful for your pets. Children are out of their usual routine, so they will likely not be on their best behavior, either. Be prepared for unusual behaviors to abound and try to just focus on things to be thankful for. Be thankful for family gathered together, which includes your pets. Make sure to give your pets plenty of attention and they will also have a great Thanksgiving!



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