6 Tips to Keep Your Dogs Safe During the Holidays
The holiday season is upon us. It’s a joyful time for many. However, it can also be a rather stressful time for pets. So while you’re busy decorating your home, getting ready for visitors, or cooking up a storm, your dogs are likely getting sensory overload from all the activities.
But there is a way to have your cake and eat it too. With some simple precautions, you can make the festivities going while still keeping your dog safe and stress-free during the holidays.
Tip #1 – Prepare a Safe Space
Parties and guests may be overwhelming to your pet dogs. With the colder weather, sending them outside is a no-no. Instead, prepare a safe space for them inside. It can be a quiet room in the house or inside their crate. The important thing is they feel secure and comfortable. Give them toys to keep them busy. If your dog is prone to barking and toys won’t do the job of distracting him, consider getting a bark collar. Whatever solution you decide on, though, make sure you get them used to it ahead of time.
Tip #2 – No Scraps
The holidays and food go together like milk and honey. But feeding your dog table scraps will do more harm than good. Some of the worst things to feed your dog during the holidays include:
Check here for a list of the best and worst foods to give your dog during the holidays.
Tip #3 – Dog-Proof the Christmas Tree
Christmas décor, especially the Christmas tree, makes pets very curious. What dog owner hasn’t had the experience of spending hours putting up a tree, decorating it, and stringing up the lights, only for his little pupper to come nosing in. Mischievous paws will swipe at the hanging ornaments. Gnawing mouths will chomp at leaves and branches. The last thing you want is for the whole thing to come crashing down and hurt your dog.
If you’re using a real tree, bear in mind that pine needles, when ingested, can cause intestinal obstruction. The water base may also contain harmful chemicals that could be dangerous to your pet.
Before you even get to that point, take steps to dog-proof your tree.
- Weigh down the tree base. This is to ensure it doesn’t topple over easily.
- Go heavy on the tinfoil. Dogs hate the texture and sound of aluminum foil. Making a tinfoil skirt around the tree may be enough to deter your pet from getting too close. Just keep a close eye out and make sure he doesn’t end up nibbling on it.
- Use pet-safe décor. Glass ornaments can break and hurt your dog. Popcorn garlands are cute and traditional but decorating with food only encourages your pet to come closer and explore.
- Pet-proof the ornaments. Tie them up securely with wire, zip ties, and string so they aren’t at risk of falling.
- Tape cords down to prevent electrocution risks. Hide or tape down wires that dogs can chew on.
- Set up a fence around the tree to keep the dog away. If a fence is not an attractive option, consider getting an indoor e-fence. Designed to keep dogs away from areas they’re not supposed to go to, indoor fences are a safe and effective solution without being an eyesore.
Tip #4 – Mind Your Christmas Greens
Some seasonal plants are poisonous to dogs when ingested. Keep the following away from home:
Tip #5 – Travel Wisely
Some prefer to celebrate the holidays with loved ones in other cities and states. Carefully consider if you’d rather leave your pet or if you’re taking your dog with you.
- If you’re leaving your pet behind, make sure they are not left home alone. Choose a responsible sitter or a reputable boarding kennel.
- If you’re bringing your pet along, know that traveling by air can be dangerous for pets. If traveling by car, the safest way is to have them in a crate that’s anchored to the vehicle. Seatbelts can keep your dog in place but aren’t reliable protection for dogs in case of a crash. Try not to let them roam inside either, as it distracts the driver.
Whatever you choose to do, always have your dog wear his collar and ID tag.
Tip #6 – Keep Emergency Contacts Handy
Regardless of how well you pet-proof a home, accidents can happen. Be prepared. List the contact number and hours for:
- Nearest emergency veterinary clinic
- Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435)
Put the information sheet where it’s easy for everyone to see. Keep a copy on your phone as well.
The holidays can be fun and safe for your pet if you take the necessary precautions. Be prepared and enjoy the season.