BE CAREFUL WITH THE FESTIVE FEASTS. Many holiday foods can be harmful or even deadly to canines, with symptoms ranging from mild (an upset stomach) to severe (vomiting and diarrhea). Avoid giving your dog fatty or spicy foods, bread dough, fresh herbs, alcohol, caffeine, and sweets of any kind (especially those containing chocolate or artificial sweeteners like xylitol). If you choose to share from the table, think plain (steamed green beans instead of green bean casserole) and in small portions.
BAG THE BONES. Cooked bones from poultry can easily splinter, causing choking, gum damage, or intestinal issues. Bag them up and deposit them in your outdoor garbage can to prevent kitchen digging and reward your well-behaved pooch with a proper dog bone instead.
PAY ATTENTION TO PLANTS. Did you know holiday plants like holly, mistletoe, poinsettias, and amaryllis (a type of lily) are poisonous? Keep these beautiful-but-dangerous favorites away from your pets – and the potpourri while you’re at it.
WATCH THE DECORATIONS. Candles are an integral part of the season, but a swinging tail can burn your pet or cause a fire. Make sure they are inaccessible to your four-legged friend. Keep wires or batteries out of reach, and be careful with snow globes, which can contain antifreeze. If one takes a tumble, keep your dog out of the room while you clean up the liquid and dilute the spot with water and floor cleaner to ensure your dog does not return to lick the spill.
CHRISTMAS TREE, OH CHRISTMAS TREE. Anchor your tree to the ceiling or wall to prevent an accident with a curious pup. Hang non-breakable ornaments near the bottom of the tree and avoid tinsel, which can cause serious internal damage. If you prefer a real tree, regularly sweep up fallen pine needles (which can cause intestinal punctures) and don’t let your dog drink tree water, which can cause a litany of problems.
IT’S NOT JUST HUMANS THAT FEEL HOLIDAY STRESS. Dogs can get excited or nervous about gatherings of any size. Exercise your pooch for 30 minutes or more prior to any festivities to make them more relaxed or likely to take a nap. Reduce exposure to unusual activities and commotion and give your pup a break from the hubbub in their crate or on their doggie bed in a quiet room. Also, make sure their bowl is filled with plenty of fresh water – pets stressed by unfamiliar events and faces typically pant more.
PETS LIKE PRESENTS TOO! Help yours stay busy and out of trouble with great gifts that last the whole year, like a new leash, a GameChanger® or Kong puzzle toy, or even dog training from Bark Busters. For a selections of great toys, please click HERE.
STEER CLEAR OF SURPRISE ADDITIONS. A cute puppy may seem like a great gift, but even the most adorable pets are lifetime commitments. Potential recipients need to be ready to take on the personal and financial responsibility of caring for a new dog and should have input into the breed, age, size, activity level, and more that best fits their lifestyle. Instead, stick to books that can help a loved one make an informed decision, or accessories to use down the line – no matter how heartwarming the puppy-in-a-box unwrapping looks in your mind’s eye.
To download these tips via PDF, please click HERE.