The holiday season is a joyful time to gather with family and friends, decorate around the home, and enjoy traditions old and new. While the season can sometimes get a little hectic for everyone, including our pets, don’t stress – we’ve got you covered with tips and tricks to make the holidays fun, safe, and festive for your dog and all its favorite humans.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.