Spice was the keeper of the clock. Come 5 p.m., she would make the rounds of the humans and do her little dance, enough to distract anyone from a computer or mobile device. She hoped, just by calling attention to herself, that she could remind everyone that it was “time to eat”!
So naturally, whenever food went missing off a plate, out of a grocery bag, off the dinner table, humans assumed Spice was the guilty party.
Now that Spice is no longer with us, our household is learning that perhaps Spice might have been judged too harshly.
Consider: the kids leave some unfinished pizza on a plate. Said pizza leaves the plate late in the evening and part of it is found beneath a chair the next morning.
Consider: Pops makes some shrimp cocktail. Junior falls off his skateboard and Pops has to run out to pick up the pieces. Pops return to find his plate sans shrimp but plenty of cocktail sauce remains.
Perhaps Suki has been the guilty party after all? Spice was an enthusiastic eater. Suki is a princess. Perhaps it was guilty by enthusiasm?
Even so, these incidents point to some bad parenting now that Spice is gone. And with the busiest holiday season upon us, Mom, Dad, Junior and Junior Jr. Need to do better. Let’s start with Thanksgiving. Here’s a Top 5 Turkey Day List to keep pets safe, courtesy of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Top 5 Turkey Day Tips for Pets
- ) Keep paws off!
Errr, jaws off. The tantalizing smells coming from the kitchen are enough to make anyone faint … and then come those begging eyes from Poochie.
“What if you drop something? huh, huh? Can I have it then?”
Turkey is higher fat than most dog food, especially the skin, and can cause not only digestive upset, but also pancreatitis. Any of the sides – cranberry, sweet potatoes, dressing – taste great to a pooch because they are forbidden, but there will be a price to pay later. Many ingredients are toxic, especially onions, nuts, mushrooms and many spices.
Dogs do best eating the same food. It is formulated to a science based on percentages of protein, fiber and other factors designed to maintain their health.
A strategy my family has used successfully for years is to feed the dogs just as the humans sit down. It works!
For more tips, see the ASPCA “Pet Care” page.
2) Stay the course!
Dogs and cats in particular thrive on routine. When the routine is off, they know something is up.
So, take the walk, fill the bowl, wipe the paws, clean the litter box, scratch behind the ears … then dive in to your Roast Beast!
3) Be the enforcer
If company is coming, it’s likely everyone wants to see Kitty or Fido. The reverse may not be true.
Lay ground rules on how to treat the animals. Spice, our chow-terrier mix does not like the rustle of plastic bags. She will run and hide if she hears one close to her (unless a person is putting on footwear; then a plastic bag could mean a walk is in order). She also fears anything moving over her head – even a tiny hand seeking to pet her gently.
So, as guests arrive, take a moment to introduce dogs to the new arrivals. Show everyone how to pet the dogs. If the felines are friendly, let Kitty come and do her / his meet and greet as is comfortable.
In your home, it’s important that everyone treat your animals as they are accustomed.
4) Set up a panic place
Related to this, even the most social animal will need a break during a long family gathering and seek a quiet place.
To avoid causing undue panic in the animal kingdom which is your home, make sure all animals have a safe place, whether it’s a blanket tucked into a corner in a clothes closet, a soft fleece blanket atop a dresser – too high for little hands to reach – or even a dog crate that Pooch can crawl into, make sure you take time to ensure all animals feel safe on this time where visiting with loved ones is so important.
5) Maintain identify
Holidays are not the time to give Poochie and Kitty a break from their collars. It’s a time to make sure their microchip IDs are up to date and their collars are secured and all ID tags are legible.
With all the flurry of people coming and going, it’s too easy for a sly critter to sneak out and dash the alley or street and take up a cool hiding spot. A collared ID and a microchip boost the chances that those critters will make it home.