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It’s a new and different holiday season, isn’t it? This year, you may be pondering if you should keep your usual traditions or break out of your Thanksgiving norm. Will you travel, or nest at home? Maybe you are trading in the big holiday table for festive-but-separate dinner trays, or even a virtual online gathering. Whatever your plans, remember that it’s gratitude that grounds this holiday, and your dog has been your steadfast friend this whole long year.

We’ve got a tasty home-baked treat recipe to help share your gratitude, and tips to safely include your pup in all of your Thanksgiving festivities.

Special pampering before the holiday is the best way to say “thank you.”

Whether you are entertaining at home, hitting the road, or just planning a quiet but special meal for you and your pets, holidays can be baffling to your dog.

If visitors bring out your dog’s bouncy or shy side, set up a comfy safe room where your dog can chill. Have your dog spend some time there each day ahead of the holiday with a bed, toys, and a special treat, so they don’t feel “banished” when holiday guests arrive.

Traveling? Plan for your dog in advance. If you are breaking away from the home front with your dog and social-distancing has kept you both housebound for a while, fit in some short practice car trips before the big day. It’s a great excuse to hike and explore together during the changing autumn weather. Doublecheck your dog’s ID tags to be sure they are legible and aren’t scratched or faded.

If your dog will be staying home while you venture away, verify boarding and pet-sitting options well in advance and have a back-up plan in case something throws a wrench in the works. Small businesses may have to hit the pause button for two weeks if they run into a possible COVID exposure. To make each day you are gone a little bit of a holiday for your dog, be sure your sitter or boarding kennel has some extra-special treats on hand.

What’s for dinner? The flavors humans enjoy can unfortunately cause after-dinner distress for dogs. Let your guests know not to sneak scraps to your dog. Fatty trimmings and spices can cause tummy upset. Onions, garlic, chocolate, and the sugar-substitute xylitol are toxic for pets. Check out a whole list of human foods to avoid here . Have dog-safe treats on hand—we’ve got great suggestions below!

Eating outside? In warmer regions, you may decide to move your celebration out-of-doors for safer social distancing. All that shuttling of food in and out of the house provides extra opportunities for pets to slip out. You may want to use that safe room during set up and clean up. If your dog will be joining you outside for the dinner feast, check that gates are closed or that your dog is safely tethered nearby. It’s easy for adventurous or frightened dogs to slip away when their humans are enjoying conversation and laughter.

Bake a special treat for your pup!

Do you pull out the rolling pin and your recipe box for holiday baking? Why not add a new Thanksgiving treat for canine family members? Here’s one we love:

PUMPKIN SPICE DOG TREATS

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups brown rice flour
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1-1/2  teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter

Double-check to be certain you are using ingredients that don’t include artificial sweeteners – they can be toxic to pets.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together brown rice flour, oat flour and pumpkin pie spice.
  2. Add water, pumpkin puree and peanut butter. Mix all ingredients with a spoon then knead with your hands, form a large ball.
  3. Divide dough in half. Put dough ball between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Roll dough into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness.
  4. Cut into desired shape with a cookie cutter then place the cutouts an inch apart on a lightly greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  5. Bake approximately 20 – 30 minutes. Start checking in 20 minutes because the bake time will vary depending on the thickness of the treats. Treats should be dry and golden brown.
  6. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or freeze for up to 2 months.

Cut these tasty canine biscuits into dog-inspired shapes so your human guests know these are your dog’s very own special treat. Paws off, people!

Pampered Pets USA has seasonal flavors for your pup.

What, you’re not a baker or don’t have time to experiment? There’s no need to don an apron if you want something truly special to pamper your pup. Our Oatmeal & Pumpkin Soft Baked treats can be shipped straight to your door via Amazon, and we even have an Organic Oatmeal & Pumpkin flavor!

If you have a friend or family member who will be celebrating Thanksgiving at home with just their dog, it’s easy to ship them some good cheer from Pampered Pets. They’ll have something extra-special for their canine companion’s holiday menu, and you’ll both have your friendship to be grateful for on Thanksgiving Day.

You aren’t “alone for Thanksgiving” when your dog is with you.

There’s no reason for Thanksgiving to be just another day if you find you are celebrating on your own.

Are you and your dog avid walkers or runners? Turkey Trots are now virtual and are happening all over the continent. Get out with your dog and help your favorite cause.

Make the day a party! Properly Posh Pets has lots of party products and a book full of ideas. If you find yourself spending a lot more time alone with your dog, why not celebrate? Be sure to take some “selfies” to share or to smile over in the future. Then cuddle up together for a holiday movie.

Include your dog in a virtual Thanksgiving with friends or family. Plan a simple but special plate for both yourself and your pet, then feast and laugh together online. Everyone loves when the usual online conversation is livened up with surprise appearances by family dogs and cats, and your dog will love being pampered with healthy home-baked cookies and Oatmeal & Pumpkin treats !

No matter what plans you have for Thanksgiving 2020, remember to be thankful for the unconditional love of the pets in your life. Their steadfast presence and the joy they provide us are certainly worth praising every single day of the year.

Share our Pumpkin Spice Treat recipe with your friends, along with a reminder to give their dog a very special hug on Thanksgiving morning!

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