Keeping Dogs Safe During the Holidays

Holiday dog safety

For a moment, imagine the holidays through your dog’s eyes. Suddenly, without any particular warning, there is a real, live tree in the middle of the home. There are new people coming and going at all hours, some staying for a (very) long time. There is a smorgasbord of delicious scraps potentially falling (or being offered) from the table. There are sparkly lights, crinkly bows, and every kind of shiny thing to explore. While all of these strange, new developments can be exciting, they can also be bewildering and downright dangerous for your precious pooch. Here’s a checklist to keep your favorite furry friend safe during the holiday hustle and bustle.

Secure the tree and trim

Carefully anchor your tree so that it doesn’t fall over on your unsuspecting pup. Unless you are going to put a baby-gate around the tree or keep your dog away from it – be mindful of your tree trimmings. Tinsel is just asking to be grabbed and nibbled. Unfortunately, those shiny little ribbons are not only a choking hazard, but can wreak havoc on your dog’s digestive tract. Move breakable ornaments out of reach. Your curious dog will not realize that fun-looking shiny red ball is not for playing fetch until it breaks into a thousand, hazardous little pieces.

Avoid Dangerous Plants

Poinsettias are beautiful. And totally toxic for your dog. Either don’t bring them into the house, or keep them in a room your dog does not enter. Mistletoe and holly are also dangerous for dogs if ingested.

Watch the Food

Many of our favorite holiday treats are particularly dangerous for our pooches. Make sure you instruct guests not to feed your dog table scraps during the holiday meal. Not only will they be encouraging annoying “begging” behaviors, they could be feeding your dog foods that will cause digestive distress at best, and dangerous reactions at worst. Chocolate is particularly toxic to some breeds. If you or someone else drops that chocolate chip cookie on the floor – pick it up asap!

Prepare for Guests and Decompress

With all of the hubbub, extra excitement and noise of holiday parties, it is easy for your pup to become agitated and overwhelmed. Especially, if you will be hosting guests or a party – be sure and give your doggy plenty of exercise prior to your event – and then a quiet space away from the crowd to rest and relax during the event.

5 Tips for Holiday Visitors – Humans and Pets

Holiday visitors and your pet

With the holidays upon us, we can all expect a few extra visitors in the coming days and weeks. From babies to toddlers, tweens to teens, parents to grandparents – the influx of visitors can be varied and unpredictable. And while we may find this revolving door of family and friends fun and festive, the experience can cause angst and anxiety for our pets. Here are some tips to keep everyone (humans and pets) safe and sound during this social season.

Keep Your Routines

As tempting as it may be, now is not the time to skip your pooch’s morning walk or evening game of fetch. With so much sudden change and uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to stick to your dog’s regular routine.

Create a Safe Space

There are a variety of reasons why you should have a “time out” space for your pooch. Fearful visitors, over-stimulation, and unpredictable kids can create uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous encounters. Additionally, the allure of crinkly scraps of wrapping paper, toy parts and food scraps can also entice your pet into a troublesome situation. Whether you use a crate, a bedroom, or a cozy space in the laundry room, make sure you carve out a comfortable space where your dog can escape, relax, and recharge. Provide water, a puzzle, toy, bone, or other chew toy to keep your pooch occupied and to burn off a little nervous energy.

Control and Limit Child Interactions

Do not assume your dog will be comfortable with small children, especially if your pooch is not used to them. Toddlers can be particularly unsettling to dogs. Their faces are often at a dog’s eye level, their gait can be wobbly and unpredictable, and they are not old enough to understand the proper way to approach, touch, or play with a dog. To put it simply – do not leave your dog alone with unfamiliar children. Look for signs that your dog is stressed such as growling, ears pinned back, tail between legs, or snarling. Quickly remove your dog from any situation that appears stressful.

Manage Guests

Be clear in your communications if you don’t want guests to feed your dog scraps from the table. Providing treats for your guests to give your dog can solve multiple problems. First, treats can help build a positive relationship between your guest and your pet. Second, having treats available will appease that well-meaning guest who really, really wants to give your dog just a little piece of cookie, cheese, chicken, etc.

Take a Walk

Your sweet dog provides you with the perfect excuse to escape the hubbub for a quick walk. This will give your dog some much needed fresh air and give you another thing to love about your pooch.