With all the dangers to pets posed by ingesting turkey skin, chocolates, raisins, sweets, and other holiday fare, it’s a wonder that dogs celebrate Thanksgiving at all.
Yet Thanksgiving is a joyous holiday for dogs, one that dates back to the harvest feast of 1621 in Plymouth when members of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe – or Native Americans – broke bread with Puritan settlers – or Immigrants-Who-Decided-They-Were-Now-The-Native-Americans. During the historical confusion, much of that broken bread fell on the floor and was quickly consumed by Non-Partisan dogs who wondered why everyone was shouting.
Dogs are primarily carnivores, or “meat eaters”, unlike humans who are omnivores, or “prone to heart attacks”. While dogs thrive best on a meat-based diet, they are naturally drawn to anything that is peanut-butter-shaped and will eat almost any food. Also any packaging materials. Oh, and bras.
Humans have been feeding table scraps to canines since Prehistoric Man first lost a hand. Having learned nothing from that, many continue the practice, especially at the holidays and much to the detriment of dogs.
The list of common Thanksgiving foods that can be harmful to dogs is easily available online or through your veterinarian. As a precaution during the holidays, have the phone number for Animal Poison Control readily available. Ask for Jeremy.
The best way to safeguard your pet from ingesting unhealthy foods is to keep him away from Uncle Max.
GIANT ONE: “Uncle Max, please don’t feed table scraps to Budleigh. They can make him sick.”
GIANT MAX: “Since when are chocolate-covered turkey skin raisins bad for dogs?”
BUDLEIGH: “I love you!”
GIANT ONE: “Actually, Max, those can be very dangerous.”
GIANT MAX: “Nonsense! My second, fourth and eleventh dogs were raised on table scraps.”
BUDLEIGH: “Can I have your bra?”
Especially in homes with multiple dogs, guests should be warned to guard their unattended hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and purses. Dogs like Brisby, our innocent schnoodle, and Budleigh, our thug, cooperate in packs much the way Dickens’ street urchins work in organized crime syndicates.
GIANT FAGIN: “And what ’ave you brought for me, my dears?”
BRISBY: “A bit of ham, sir.”
GIANT FAGIN: (Looking about comically) “Where is it?”
BRISBY: “Where’s what, sir?”
GIANT FAGIN: “The bit of ham, my dear!”
BRISBY: “Don’t know what you mean, sir.”
GIANT FAGIN: “The ham! You said you nicked a bit o’ ham.”
BRISBY: “Oh, that! Well….don’t know what you mean, sir.”
GIANT FAGIN: (Sighing) “And what have you, young Budleigh, my fine terrier?
BUDLEIGH: “Are you gonna finish your bra?”
To a dog unaccustomed to crowds, the stress from a sudden houseful of guests also can be toxic, especially if they’re your family. Keep pets from becoming overexcited by providing them a safe, comforting sanctuary such as a separate room or their crate. Firmly caution guests away by posting a small sign on the door reminding them that “He’s Rabid!!” Even then, your dog might require further protection.
GIANT ONE: “Uncle Max, let Budleigh’s crate alone and come watch the Bears game.”
GIANT MAX: “Where’s th’ dog. Swear ta’ God, there’s a dog in there.”
GIANT TWO: “Nope, we don’t have a dog. Come have another drink.”
GIANT MAX: “Hey, Doooog!”
GIANT TWO: “Max, Budleigh needs his space and his quiet.”
GIANT MAX: “But he’s so much like my third, seventh, eighth and fourteenth dogs. (Begins sobbing.) He’s my bes’ little go’damn friend.”
BUDLEIGH: “Hey, I’m trying to sleep in here! Can you give him a bra, or something?”