Pets vs Family At Thanksgiving


Millions of pandemic adopted pets haven’t experienced Thanksgiving, or at least not one with all the throng of unruly relatives. Some may love the bedlam and all the attention focused in their direction. However, other pets at Thanksgiving might get kind of freaked out.

If you’re unsure about what the response is going to be, especially for cats, offer a secret hideaway where kity can get away from it all. This hideaway must be free of unruly relatives, particularly little kids or well-meaning aunties saying “here kitty, kitty.”

If you do have an idea that your pet might be anxious around the Thanksgiving Day crowd, take down that anxiety a few notches.

At least a day in advance, plug in pheromone diffusers in the room the pets are most often in, especially that room that you’ll  may choose as the hideaway room. Adaptil diminishes anxiety in dogs and Feliway Classic is the pheromone product for cats. Feliway Classic is a copy of the comforting pheromone deposited by cats when they rub their cheek pads against your leg or a table leg. The cats are essentially communicating “This is my world and welcome to it.” Adaptil is a copy of the calming pheromone found in the milk of nursing mothers to soothe puppies.

Play Your Pets’ Kind of Music

Turn on your favorite talk radio station as background, or pump up relaxing music in the hideaway room.

These days, there’s even soothing music that’s specially produced for pets. The leader in the industry is ICalm which includes various packages and tunes designed to calm dogs or cats. Victoria Stilwell offers calming music on her site, and A Sound Beginning is another example of calming music created for dogs.

Distraction is a smart strategy. Stuff treats or kibble or moist food into any of the myriad of food dispensing toys now on the market. If your dog or cat (yes cats too) are working on figuring out how to get the yummies, they won’t be simultaneously anxious about those rowdy relatives. (Warning: This method isn’t a good idea when multiple pets are aggressive in a confined space about sharing food and/or toys).

When a family member known to the pet is available, distract with a favorite game – that’s often an effective and fun diversion, such as playing with a squeaky toy for the dog or using an interactive toy (fishing pole-type toy with feathers) to engage a cat.


Nutraceuticals are a great start to deal with low-level anxiety, and can be purchased online or through your veterinarian. There are countless choices but the following two can be backed up with science.

  • ANXITANE: (L-Theanine) Containing a pure synthetic form of L-Theanine, an amino acid naturally found in green tea leaves, these chewable tabs encourage relaxation.
  • Zylkene: Demonstrates grandma was right about a glass of warm milk being relaxing. Zylkene contains bovine-sourced hydrolyzed milk protein, an ingredient that has calming properties.

As for treats with hemp or CBD to calm pets when company comes over during Thanksgiving, the jury is still out. No doubt, we’ll know more soon about what the products can do, and which ones are recommended as being unregulated, not all CBD products are equivalent. Probably, the right product in the right pet at the right dose could have the desired calming response. However, at this juncture further scientific evidence is required.