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The Chew: Hosting the Big Dinner

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The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Dog Paws n Cat Claws, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, DPnCC offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

Hosting the big dinner over the upcoming holidays can be stressful for everyone and we’ve all heard stories about dogs getting into trouble. Years ago, my sister’s 80-pound dog Hershel attempted to jump on top of the dining room table and nearly succeeded. I recently read a story about a dog that managed to get the oven door open, pull out the turkey and eat half of it before anyone noticed!

Avoiding Kitchen Accidents

When I’m in the kitchen, so is my dog. He’s underfoot, hoping for scraps, volunteering for taste tests and being what he thinks of as helpful. However, eating scraps or giving your dog samples can potentially make them sick and cause weight gain. In addition, my own dog has almost gotten burned, been stepped on and eaten things that are toxic. It’s a risk HE is certainly willing to take. Keeping your dog out of the kitchen while cooking is the best way to protect him. You should keep them crated or blocked off with a baby gate to prevent kitchen accidents.

A Crowded House

There are many reasons why it’s important to keep your eyes open when the house is full. A crowded house can often create behavior problems for dogs when family and friends are engrossed in conversation and heads are turned. Your dog may take advantage of the situation and help himself to tasty plates of goodies, especially when everything smells amazing! Keep food out of reach and as high as possible to avoid trouble. Having children running around can also be stressful for your dog if they aren’t used to being around children. Teaching children how to approach a new dog is essential during the holiday season.

If you choose to keep your pal at home with you, consider blocking off the kitchen as suggested above or creating a space more contained than usual. To keep your dog busy, stuff a Kong full of treats or peanut butter and also set her up with a favorite chew toy or dog bone. And when it comes to bones, don’t offer any from your cooking. Small and slow-cooked bones can splinter when chewed, causing blockages in a dog’s system and possibly tearing intestines.

Boarding

At Dog Paws n Cat Claws, we recommend boarding anxious dogs in a safe, familiar facility with plenty of socialization and minimal crate time. We only crate dogs when sleeping and eating and schedule our daily cleaning ritual around feeding times. Our goal is to ensure your pet spends the majority of the day free to play, observe, receive attention or nap when and where they choose.

Holiday Dinner Scraps: Just Say No

Dogs foraging into trash cans and kitchen counters while unattended is expected and no doubt social media over the holidays will be full of photos of these canine mischief-makers, giving us plenty of entertainment. However, this can potentially cause great harm to your pup.

Deviating from your dogs’ (and cats’!) regular diets during the holidays can be a bad idea and cause health issues. I know it’s hard for me to resist those puppy eyes politely asking for a handout at the holiday table. Consider finding recipes for safe and healthy homemade dishes for your pets instead of offering scraps. Consult with your vet before proceeding if you have any concerns.

Think about starting a new family holiday tradition by getting your children involved in preparing something special for your pets. Because after all, our pets are family, too!

Sara Schabach
In-Home Pet Care Manager

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