The holiday season is a time for merrymaking, but it’s also a time for dog owners to become more vigilant. Christmas trees, an abundance of food, presents, plants, lights, ornaments, visitors – so many things that are potentially hazardous to your pets if left unsupervised. At Hearts and Harmony's Hamilton dog training owner Kim Miller discusses some precautions you can take to make sure your dogs stay happy and safe throughout the festivities.
KEEP UNSAFE FOODS OUT OF REACH
There are so many delicious dishes during the holiday season, but no matter how much your dog begs for a bite, resist those cute puppy eyes and keep certain food items off limits:
Ditch the Desserts – Never feed dogs chocolate and anything that contains xylitol as these are harmful to canines. To be sure they don’t get into the desserts, keep them away from the table, secure the lids on trash bins, and don’t leave plates of food unattended.
Don’t Offer Leftovers – Be extra careful of sharing your holiday meal with your dog, especially those that are spicy, fatty, and have bones. Stay with their regular diet to avoid upset tummies and medical emergencies.
Watch Your Cocktails – Alcohol is extremely toxic for dogs, and it can make them ill, weak, and unconscious. At worst, significant alcohol ingestion can lead to fatal respiratory failure. Keep unattended adult beverages completely out of reach.
Choose Treats Wisely – As a beloved member of the family, our furry friends deserve a few gifts in their stockings. Not sure what to give them? Indestructible chew toys, bouncy balls, or KONG toys that are stuffed with dog-friendly treats are all safe selections.
BE CAREFUL WITH THE DECORATIONS
Part of the holiday spirit is decorating the house, but remember these tips to protect both your dogs and your hard work:
Secure Your Christmas Tree – Even small puppies can tip over a Christmas tree, so make sure to anchor your tree in a spot where it won't fall. Doing this also prevents your pet from drinking stagnant, dirty tree water that can trigger diarrhea and nausea.
Keep Edible Decorations Off Your Tree – Decorating your tree with popcorn strings or cranberries is probably not a good idea, especially with a new dog or puppy. Your dog may be attracted to these edible ornaments and knock down your tree as a result.
Swap Out the Holly and Mistletoe – These two are classic Christmas decorations, but they are severely toxic to dogs. They can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea when ingested. Instead, go for artificial plants to decorate and avoid risking a health hazard.
Hide Wires and Display Candles Correctly – Curious dogs can hurt themselves with a live wire, broken glass, or ornament shards. They can also burn themselves or start a fire if they knock over your candles. Be sure to keep live flames at a safe distance and wires, batteries, and similar materials hidden safely from exploring paws.
ADDITIONAL PET SAFETY REMINDERS
Lock away your medicines, and instruct your guests to do the same.
Encourage family and friends to play nicely and calmly with your dogs.
Reserve a quiet, escape-proof area with comfortable bedding and fresh water in case your dog wants to retreat from all the holiday frenzy.
Keep pets far away from fireworks and noisy poppers to protect their sensitive ears and avoid scaring them.
Keeping your dogs safe during the holidays is an essential part of dog training and responsible pet care. If you are looking to enroll your furry friend in dog training near Leesburg, Ashburn, or Purcellville areas, Hearts in Harmony’s training facility in Hamilton is just within driving distance. Check out our schedule for classes and events in 2019, or contact us for more information.