3 Tips for Helping Your Dog and Holiday Guests to Get Along

Terry-Poo wears handmade dog collar of macrame
How could you deny this face some table scraps?!?

The holiday season is approaching!

Thanksgiving, like many other holidays, is a time for plenty of food, friends and family...and stress. But to help make this holiday season as stress-free as possible for both of you and your dog, we've put together the top 3 tips that we've learned through experience.

1. Watch the exits - With visitors coming and going, it's the most opportune time for your dog to make a getaway. As you usher your guests in and out, bring your dog to another room with the door closed. This prevents any escape attempts and makes interacting with your guests that much easier. When they have had a moment to relax and get comfortable, you can introduce your dog to your guests, allowing your dog to sniff them out and say hello.

2. Prevent begging - It's possible that not all of your guests will love your dog (crazy, right!). Especially when dinner time rolls around and your drooling dog is resting her head on their lap, waiting for some tasty food to drop down. You have a few options:

a) Crate: If your dog is crate trained, you can place them in their crate while you eat. If not, you can place them in another enclosed room or behind a baby gate, away from all the good smells.

b) Tether: If you want your dog in the room but not waiting under the table, put your dog on a leash and attach it to a piece of heavy furniture. Place their bed near the tether and encourage them to lay down before the meal begins.

c) Training: If you teach your dog to lay down and stay in place (even when there are distractions), then all it will require is the command and positive reinforcement during the meal.

With all of these options, give your dog something to chew on or play with so that they have something better to do than bark to get attention. A bone, a stuffed KONG, or a favorite toy will go a long way to keeping them occupied - letting you focus on your guests.

3. Careful what you feed your dog - With so many people around, it's possible that your dog will be receiving treats without you noticing. Remember, even though you love the chocolate cake being served for dinner and want your dog to partake, chocolate is toxic to dogs. A small amount of chocolate will probably only give your dog an upset stomach with vomiting or diarrhea. But approximately one pound of milk chocolate is poisonous to a 20-pound dog. Remind your guests not to feed your dog human food or make sure they ask you before your dog gets a treat.

If you believe your pet has been poisoned or eaten something it shouldn’t have, call your veterinarian or local veterinary emergency clinic immediately. You may also want to call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline: 888-426-4435.

One way to help put you at ease and prevent you from having to repeat your request to your increasingly tipsy friends as the night goes on is to get a doggie vest that says: “Do Not Feed”. Or something as simple as putting masking tape on their collar or harness with the words “Do Not Feed” in big letters will help avoid trouble.

Oh, and one more thing: Ruff on the Road collars might be built for the outdoors but they’re runway – and holiday gatherings – ready. Don’t miss the chance to make your dog-owner guests super jealous!

We hope that these tips help ease the stress of the holiday season so that you can better enjoy being with your – human and dog alike!