By Brenna Fender
The holiday season is filled with food, guests, and excitement. While these things are fun for the people in your life, they can be dangerous for your dog. But don’t worry, there are some simple things to you can do in order to keep your furry friends safe during the holidays.
Holiday food is delicious, fattening, and not appropriate for your pets. Sweet treats can contain Xylitol, a sugar substitute that is toxic to dogs. Fatty foods can lead to pancreatitis or other illnesses. Bones can cause blockages or choking. Overeating even healthy foods can cause stomach upset or other problems. So, during the holiday season, be especially aware of potential food hazards. That counter you don’t think your dog can reach might be more accessible than you think if the prize is worth it!
With all the holiday comings and goings, dogs have more opportunities to become lost. Doors may be left open and yard gates unlatched or you may be distracted by holiday activities when you are supposed to be watching the dog. Crate your pet during confusing moments to avoid potential tragedies. Microchip dogs in order to help them be more easily returned home if they do get out.
Friends and family can cause problems with both food and escape, by deliberately giving food to begging dogs or leaving food in an accessible spot, or accidentally leaving a door open. Tell guests the family rules that help keep your dog safe but be aware that they might not follow them. You may have to confine your dog more often than usual or directly supervise interactions.
Some of your guests might be children, and if your dog doesn’t normally interact with children, he may be frightened by their odd movements and erratic behaviors. But even if your dog is usually very good with children, do not trust that things will go smoothly. Holiday stress may inspire different behaviors in both your dog and the children. It’s never a good practice to leave dog unsupervised with any children, but that is especially true under these circumstances.
Tinsel, candles, and other holiday decorations may be harmful to your dog if ingested. Keep decorations up high and in safe places. Be particularly aware of your Christmas tree (if you have one) as it can be easily knocked over and onto a curious pup.
The holiday season can be filled with fun and joy. With some planning, your dog can safely enjoy the season as well!