As the month of pie-baking, turkey-stuffing, and gravy-mixing begins, delicious aromas may waft through your home a little more than usual. If your pooch is a consistent “beggar” for table scraps, this may pose a problem. Especially if you’re hosting this year’s family Thanksgiving!
Eating table scraps can actually be harmful to your dog’s health as well—dogs who are fed scraps are prone to obesity, and bones from meat can cause choking hazards. A balanced diet of nutrient rich dog food is best for your furry friend. Still, those puppy-dog-eyes can easily guilt trip us into tossing Fido a scrap or two.
Follow these steps to break your beloved canine of a bad begging habit:
1. When the family is at the table, request to all members that everyone completely ignore the dog. We know it’s rough—he just wants some delicious turkey too!)—but your pooch needs to learn that his efforts will not lend him any reward. Don’t shout at him or swat his nose either. This acknowledges his efforts to come forward and interrupt the meal.
2. Be prepared. Once you begin this type of training, your dog may decide to beg or whine more loudly in reaction before he realizes that it is futile and that his pet-parents aren’t giving in to his antics. This may take a few weeks, but if your pooch is particularly clever, he will probably catch on sooner.
3.After dinner is cleared away, and if your pet has done particularly well in the anti-begging area, reward him with a treat. This helps to reinforce the good behavior.
4. If the time required of this method is unappealing, a crate-trained pup can be placed in his crate during meal-times. You can also offer your pet an “alternative” such as a nice chew toy during dinner time, or even rearrange meal times so that he is eating his own dinner at the same time the two-legged family members are eating theirs.
Should some scraps fall to the floor, or should visiting relatives insist on incorporating your pooch into the holiday festivities, just make certain to not give him any scraps containing bones, chocolate, large amounts of salt, anything containing garlic, onions, or added sugars.
The one thanksgiving staple that can actually be good for your pooch—and cats too—is pumpkin. It aids in digestion and urinary health. You can add the natural pureed pumpkin (no sugar added, not the pie filling) to their food dish, or even cook a special pet treat with it, such as this recipe here by Jess Fellows from EHow:
How to Make Pumpkin Dog Treats
- Cookie sheet
- Rolling pin
- Measuring cup
- Stand mixer or spoon and bowl
- Small cookie cutters
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat, or all purpose flour
- 1 cup 100% pure pumpkin, canned
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 egg
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine pumpkin, cinnamon and egg in the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large bowl if you are mixing by hand. Mix until blended.
- Add flour 1/2 cup at a time into the bowl until stiff dough forms.
- Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface to about 1/2 inch thick.
Use small cookie cutters to cut the dough into bite sized treats.
- Line dog treats 1/2 inch apart on a non-greased cookie sheet. These treats won’t expand so you don’t have to worry about them being so close together.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until treats are golden brown. Turn the oven off and leave the treats in the oven for 1-2 hours to allow them to become crunchy. Then remove from the oven and let cool.
- Store treats at room temperature in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks, or store in the fridge for up to a month.
We hope you and your family—canines and felines too—have a splendidly happy, healthy and begging-free Thanksgiving this month!