Keeping Your Dogs Safe During the Christmas Season

Dogs and ChristmasIt is a big tradition to put lights up the day after Thanksgiving along with a beautiful Christmas tree laden with decorations and harboring a stack of wonderful gifts beneath their boughs.  And while this all really gets you into the spirit of Christmas, many of them can prove hazardous to animal health, so please, keep a watch out for dangerous items and situations!

  • Decorations – If you have had toddlers in the house you will know that you need to keep the “good” decorations above reach of your little ones.  This goes for dogs as well.  Chewed on power cords equal electrocution, pine trees smell good and can get knocked over and start fires, their decorations poise threats of choking.  While poinsettias, mistletoe and chocolate are all poisonous to dogs and can cause death.  Keep them safe by securing decorations and electrical cords and if you use candles, keep them well above reach or curious noses and wagging tails.  And if you need to leave the house, keep your dogs secured away from all the holiday cheer.
  • Food – The table doesn’t have to be laden with food for threats to exist for dogs.  Chocolate left on tables, yummy foods wrapped up under the tree as well has the traditional dinner all poise health threats to your dogs.  If you want your dog to have special treats, do them a favor and buy doggie treats or make some for them – Safe Thanksgiving Meals for Your Dog.  There are many toxic foods eaten at this time and no reason to put your dog at risk – Keeping Your Dog Safe During Holiday Meals,  And make sure you keep all foods and alcoholic beverages up high and away from the edge of counters and tables.  Even the best mannered dog will be tempted by a steaming turkey left at the edge of the table.
  • Stress – With so many people in ‘their’ house, or being in a new place, your pet may stress out. Watch for avoidance body language from your dog, panting and nervous shifty behaviors.  Help them out by providing a safe place to go to – a quiet room, a crate, or an elevated cat tree.
  • Open Doors – Stress or the thrill of everything going on my entice your dog to do things he doesn’t normally do, like run away from home.  This time of year we are always opening the door to welcome in family, unload the car, or take the packages from Affordable Agility off the stoop. Be careful that your pet doesn’t make a break for the great outdoors!
  • Gifts – sometimes we wrap delicious food and put it under the tree. If your dog or cat is half as smart as you think they are, they probably think it’s a game to unwrap!  And their powerful noses will tell them it is well worth a college try to get to that yummy food.

Veteran dog owners will already have a system down to keep them and their pets safe, but a puppy owner or new dog owner experiencing the Christmas fun for the first time should take careful precautions to ensure they see many more Christmases to come.