Keep your little elf happy and healthy all season long with these easy-to-follow holiday Do's and Dont's.
Do puppy-proof your tree
Low-hanging ornaments, strings of lights, and sticky pine needles all look like fun new treats to a curious dog. To avoid intestinal blockages, punctures, and other dangerous injuries, keep your tree in an out-of-the-way area and focus your most tempting decorations on the tree’s upper branches. For the tree’s bottom branches, try strings of bells. The cheerful chimes will alert you when your naughty pup is up to no good!
Don’t decorate with seasonal plants
Bad news for holiday botanists. Poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe are all toxic to dogs and cats. If someone gives you one of these live plants, keep it far out of reach of your pet and beware of falling leaves. Check your plants for signs of chewing and, if ingestion occurs, call your vet asap!
Do tire him out
Releasing anxiety and energy through a long walk or jog is a must before a big event. Some pet owners who live in very cold climates even invest in specially designed treadmills in order to allow their dogs to jog out the stress on a frigid day.
Don’t force him to socialize
Everyone loves your dog, but too much attention can be overwhelming for him. Never force your fur child to give kisses, do tricks, or cuddle with relatives and friends. Dogs, unlike humans, process the stress hormone cortisol very slowly. This means that a series of small stressors can cause an excessive buildup in their system. The result of too much cortisol is sometimes anxiety or aggression.
Do give him an escape plan
Watch for physical signals that you dog may need a break. Bring a comfy crate with you while traveling and allow your dog to retreat into his “cave” whenever he needs to. Knowing that he has a safe place to hide away from the crowd will give your dog the peace of mind he needs to endure the hectic holiday season.
Don’t let family members sneak food under the table
We all have one well-meaning relative who wants to be Fido’s favorite, but don’t let your guests guilt you into making your dog sick. Get ahead of an awkward dinner conversation by explaining beforehand that everyday human food can cause serious damage. Cooked turkey bones can splinter, large food items can cause intestinal blockages, and onions, garlic, raisins, and chocolate can all be toxic.
Do stay calm
With holiday joy, comes holiday stress. But, if you’re overly anxious about family members visiting, last minute gifts, and holiday travel, your dog will be too. Staying calm and happy is the best way to help your four-legged friend deal with the changes to his daily routine. When you lead by example and keep these tips in mind, your holiday season will be merry and bright.