10 Tips For Keeping Your Dog Safe During the Holidays
Wrap all gifts in environmentally-sound recycled paper. Check.
Ensure all baked goods take into account keto, paleo, gluten free, and vegan diets. Check.
Think about how to keep our dogs safe during the holidays. Oooh, now there’s something we might have missed from our list!
While it’s not like we are actively putting our pets at risk during the holiday season, their safety might not be top of our to-do list. And with holiday travel, big gatherings, gifts dotted around the house, and food-a-plenty, home can be a different place for our dogs this time of year.
The following are 10 ways you can look out for your dog during the holidays so they stay safe and happy – which is a gift all in itself.
DON’T STRESS THE HOLIDAY GUESTS
One visitor to your house? Good times. A whole gaggle of loud adults and excited kids? Now that’s a recipe for stress for many of our furry friends. Think ahead on how you can assuage their anxiety by creating a space in the house they can retreat to when it all becomes too much and fill it with their bed, some new toys, and a familiar blanket.
MAKE NO BONES ABOUT BONES
Does your dog sit silently under the table at meal time waiting for some surreptitious scraps? Guilty! However, when you’ve got a full house of guests who might be less familiar with dog safety, it’s best to keep your dog away from the food altogether. At the very least, make sure all your guests know not to give your dog any bones as these can easily splinter and cause serious health problems.
EAT ALL THE CHOCOLATE IMMEDIATELY
Ok, maybe don’t do that, but DO keep all chocolate well out of the reach of your dog (including those dogs that are talented at jumping up on tables when you walk out the room!) As a dog owner, you likely already know that chocolate is toxic to dogs due to a chemical called theobromine, as well as caffeine, both of which dogs do not metabolize well. However, your guests might not, so it’s worth mentioning once the chocolate (inevitably) comes out.
STOCK UP ON TREEEEAAAATTS
So I can’t eat “this” and I can’t eat “that”... What CAN I eat? (That’s your dog talking, by the way). Consider stocking up on long lasting chews that will keep her occupied for a while, or some healthy treats that the visiting kids can have fun giving her. To make it really easy for everyone to know what is safe, fill a jar or container with dog-friendly treats and label it “Dog Treats”. Genius!
(DON’T) STOP TO SMELL THE POINSETTIAS
Did you know that several plants are toxic to dogs if they decide to nibble on them? Especially some of the plants some people are more likely to have around the house this time of year such as poinsettias, mistletoe, ivy, and holly. If you have a plant nibbler at home, check whether any seasonal plants you’re considering bringing into the home are poisonous to dogs.
SEE THE LIGHT (BUT DON’T LEAVE IT UNATTENDED)
If your holiday traditions include candles, don’t leave them unattended in a room where your dog might be able to knock them over. All it takes is a quick whip of the tail, and, well, you know how that story ends.
If your holidays call for travel and Rover is invited too, make sure to plan ahead. Think about a safe dedicated space in the car for your dog, check local regulations for the area you will be visiting, and map out dog parks en route so he can stretch his legs. Check out this article for more on how to travel safely with your dog.
CHECK YOUR HYDRATION STATIONS
If you’re in your own home, make a point of checking that your furry friend’s water bowl is filled up regularly. If you’re staying elsewhere, make sure your dog knows where he can find his water. Better still, have your Spleash leash attachment handy at all times so he gets a drink during walks, but don’t forget – you can also use it as a water bowl on the ground. Yep, that’s our hardworking Spleash for ya!
KEEP ROUTINES ROUTINE
Dogs thrive on familiarity and routine. Do you always take your dog for a walk straight after dinner? Try to stick to that routine even if you have guests over for dinner. Does he like to go to bed around the same time each night? Remember that’s what his stressed little self might be trying to tell you at 11pm when the party’s still going strong and he needs encouragement to go upstairs and settle down.
HAVE YOUR NEAREST VET ON SPEED DIAL
Seeing as your dog is probably the most important sentient being in your life (ok, maybe your family counts too) you’ve likely got your own vet listed on your “favorites”. But if you’re at Aunt Tina’s house for a week, make sure you look up the local emergency vet practice in advance and plug the number into your phone. Hopefully you’ll never need it (let’s assume you read points 1-9 above!) but as they say, “Preparation, preparation, preparation”.
No matter how you celebrate the holidays (or if you even celebrate them at all) chances are this is a more social time than usual for you and your dog. With a little forward thinking, some clear communication, (and some extra treats), we’re pretty sure everyone – including your BFF – will get through it just fine!
By Zoe Oksanen