Holidays are busy and exciting but they can be a little stressful for everyone, including our dogs. This handy list will help ensure your holidays stay healthy as well as happy.
1. For the holidays, transform your tree into one that’s dog-friendly. Glass ornaments, string, elastic bands, artificial snow, tinsel, and the metal ornament hooks can spell trouble for your buddy if he swallows them. Instead, use unbreakable non-toxic alternatives hung with short pieces of ribbon. If you love your glass ornaments too much to part with them, hang them out of your dog’s reach, and/or keep him away from the tree by surrounding it with a barrier, such as a baby gate.
2. Skirt tree stand problems. If you have a real tree, tightly cover your tree stand with skirting so your dog doesn’t decide to quench his thirst from the tree water, which may contain sap or chemicals.
3. Take a pass on edible decorations. Popcorn strings and gingerbread cookies look lovely, but they’re just too much of a temptation for any dog.
4. Be bright about special lighting over the holidays — make sure cords are tucked out of reach of your companion’s teeth. If you use candles, place them above tail-wagging level and always blow them out before you leave the room.
5. Set up a safe haven for your dog. If you’re having friends or family over for a holiday celebration, consider setting aside a quiet room where your dog can ”hide”. Put his bed and some toys in there and let your guests, especially children, know that this room is out of bounds to everyone except your dog.
6. Check his ID. In all the busyness of entertaining guests or preparing a meal, it’s easy to lose track of your dog. Make sure he’s wearing up-to-date identification.
7. Keep canine numbers small. Don’t encourage your guests to bring their own dogs unless they already know each other and get along well. The extra stress could lead to snarling and scrapping.
8. Celebrate but don’t overindulge. It’s tempting to include your dog in the eating festivities but stay away from rich gravy, fat scraps, candy and cake, so you don’t end up cleaning up unwanted messes. While some raw bones are okay for dogs, cooked bones can splinter and injure an animal’s throat or intestines so make sure green bin and garbage cans are tightly closed.
9. Take away the temptation. Remove or place chocolate, nuts, candies, chips, etc. out of reach whenever you leave the room.
10. Set a timer. If you’re in the habit of letting your dog out to play in the yard, set a timer to remind you he’s out there. During holiday get-togethers, time passes quickly and you might inadvertently forget he’s standing at the door waiting for you to let him in!