Published: November 30th, 2016 | Jeremy Feldman

Getting the turkey fully dressed and on the table is only half the battle of celebrating Thanksgiving without a hitch—especially when there’s a pet involved. Here are four tips for celebrating the holiday, minus a canine or feline meltdown.

1. Don’t be afraid to discipline. Staying off the dinner table and not begging for scraps are two behavioral basics that most housebroken canines should know. But don’t be surprised when all of the new and exciting sights and smells that come with the Thanksgiving meal cause Rover to go into overdrive. (Or, if you have a cat, the willingness to follow orders were probably never there to begin with.) Although it’s easy to brush their behavior aside (it’s just for one day, right?), resist the temptation and sternly tell them “no.” Better yet, keep your dining room a pet-free zone and place them in another room with some food and toys or (if it’s not too cold out) in the backyard.

2. Consider hiring a pet sitter. Not hosting this year’s shindig? You might want to think seriously about hiring a pet sitter rather than traveling with Fido or Fluffy. Not only can be prolonged hours spent in a car or airplane cause anxiety in pets, but it’s entirely possible that your host might not be too keen if you show up with a pumpkin pie and a bundle of shedding fur—especially if you didn’t tell her beforehand. Avoid the headaches and hire a pet sitter instead.

3. Find a diversion. If your pet starts going stir crazy while the family patiently waits for Aunt Peggy to arrive for the Thanksgiving meal, consider taking your dog on a walk through the neighborhood or to the local dog park for a game of fetch. If you have a lot of time to kill, pets are welcome during the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Not only is this a great way to burn off some pent-up energy, but it also gives you a breather from family too.

4. Reward your pet for good behavior. Now that the dishes are cleared, and guests are heading home show your pet some TLC for their good behavior. One way is to surprise them with a few pieces of turkey placed in their food bowl. Just make sure that there’s no fat or bones, and stick with white meat, recommends PetMD. Leftovers that shouldn’t be given to them: grapes, garlic, onions, and chocolate.

Photo Credits

All photos taken by PetYen. Taken November 2016.