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Holiday Safety Tips for Dog Owners

By: Alex Semancik

The holiday season is a time for getting together with friends and family, and pets are no exception. As someone who grew up with dogs, I know how fun it can be to enjoy the holidays with your four-legged friends. I also know that being a dog owner during the holiday season can be chaotic whether you’re hosting or traveling. But, with some simple planning and precautions, you can help eliminate your pet-related stress.

General Hosting Tips

Mind the weather! If you live in a cooler climate with cold winters keep your pet inside other than during bathroom breaks. Your dog may become overwhelmed with so many unfamiliar people over, but try to keep them in a separate room or distract them with plenty of toys to occupy them. Don’t forget to inform your visitors you have a pet!

Asking animal-loving guests to keep eccentric dogs distracted is a great solution for all parties involved. Pets that are shyer may need a separate room to escape the noise of the function. Stock this room with some water and a comfy place to hide.

For the New Year’s celebrations avoid party poppers that can alarm dogs, potentially cause them hearing damage, and produce waste they can possibly ingest. Be understanding that pets dislike fireworks. Provide skittish pets with a safe and secure environment before the fireworks start.

Ensure that all medications are out of reach from paws!

(Photo courtesy of Charlene Grace and Angel Coast Labradoodles)

In the Living Room

Believe it or not, many dog dangers are hiding in plain sight right in your living room. Live plants, including Christmas trees, should be set up with caution and care. If you have a tree in your living room, ensure it is securely anchored so it won’t topple over and harm your pet. Monitor how your dog reacts to the tree, if your pet chews on branches or ingests pine needles they may have severe intestinal issues. If your dog won’t stop bothering the tree, or if monitoring your tree seems like too much of a hassle, consider switching to a decorative faux tree.

When decorating your Christmas tree, ensure that all wires and ornaments are out of paws’ (or snouts’) reach. If a curious mouth bites the wrong wire your poor pet could be electrocuted, and it should go without saying that your dog ingesting shards of glass or plastic from ornaments is extremely harmful.