How to Politely Stop Guests From Feeding Your Dog This Holiday Season

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The holiday season is upon us, and that can mean only one thing – food. It starts with the turkey and potato fest that is Thanksgiving, and somehow, the activities and the meals continue on, usually until the New Year. The holiday season is a magical and delicious time, and you're not the only one who thinks so. Dogs love the holidays, too, because family gatherings and large roasted meats often mean that they get a few extra treats throughout the season.

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However, if your dog is on a diet, has special dietary needs, or you just don't want your dog eating human food, the holidays can be a bit of a minefield. Well-meaning relatives and friends often want to bond with your pup by feeding them, and they sometimes don't even think to ask about it. So how can you firmly, but politely, keep your family and friends from giving your dog something they shouldn't eat? We break down some of the most common scenarios that you might run into, and how you can politely make your wishes known.

Scenario 1: Nobody has fed your dog anything, but you want to make it clear you don't want them to.

This scenario comes up a lot with new pet owners or those of you whose family hasn't really met your dog. You probably have a lot of first interaction anxiety, thinking about how your dog will behave to everyone, and how everyone will behave to your dog. In this situation, rather than squirm all night in stress, we suggest you get out ahead of it.

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Scenario 2: Your aunt asks if she can give your dog something.

Wow, this is an unusual scenario, when someone actually asks your permission before offering something to your pet. Make sure to make your thoughts clear, but be grateful and respectful.

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Scenario 3: Your second cousin gives your dog food before you can say anything.

This is when the situation can start to get sticky. As long as they didn't give your dog a food that could kill them or make them seriously ill, try not to freak out. Even though we totally agree that their conduct was problematic, getting too angry rarely accomplishes what you want.

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Scenario 4: A child gives your dog food, and their parent doesn't say anything.

This may be one of the toughest of situations to navigate, because no parent wants to feel like they're doing anything wrong with their child, but sometimes, they are. However, you will for sure want to talk to the parent, rather than admonishing the kid, because you want to set a good example. If you want to be asked before someone interferes with your dog, then you definitely have to ask before interfering with a child.

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Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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