With Christmas and New Years right around the corner, most of us are giddy in anticipation of celebrating with loved ones (including, of course, our four-legged companions!). But while we’re busy decking the halls and roasting chestnuts over open fires, it can be easy to forget the little things that can pose a danger to our dogs.
As you gear up for the holidays, take some time to focus on your pooch—is he getting regular exercise despite the dropping temperatures? Is he snacking on one-too-many unhealthy treats? Has his curiosity peaked around the new decorations?
We’ve put together a checklist so you can enjoy your dog and your eggnog.
1. Avoid holiday "treats"
The overly sweet, overly spiced, and super fatty foods we love to indulge in this time of year don’t always fare well with our pups. Many of these foods are grounds for an upset tummy, or more severe gastrointestinal issues:
- BOOZE: It should go without saying, but if your holiday festivities include alcohol make sure unattended drinks are out of reach for pups
- SWEETS: It’s common knowledge that dogs shouldn’t eat chocolate, but its safest to keep your dog away from the dessert table altogether. Even treats without chocolate can cause GI upset for your dog.
Instead, opt for a special treat just for your pup like a raw bone, some peanut butter in a hollow toy, or a brand new squeaky toy (I mean, c’mon – it’s Christmas for them too!).
2. Don't play with plants
Haul out the holly – but keep it out of pooch’s reach. Certain foods aren’t the only thing that can be dangerous during the holidays. Some plants are also toxic to pets.
- MISTLETOE/HOLLY: Holly can cause a nasty combo of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in dogs if ingested. Mistletoe can also cause GI disruption and cardiovascular problems. Maybe try a plastic or fabric version of these plants if you’ve got a curious pooch on your hands.
- FLOWERING PLANTS: Many varieties of poinsettias and lilies can cause kidney failure if eaten by a pet. If you noticed chew marks on any of these plants, call your vet ASAP.
- THE CHRISTMAS TREE: While it doesn’t pose as big a threat if munched on, make sure your Christmas tree is sturdy in its stand. A giant tree + a wound up dog can spell potential injury to your dog, your guests, or even just your furniture.
3. What glitters isn't always good
When it comes to decor (like all those ornaments!), your dog may find them equally as shiny and intriguing as you do. Keep an eye out for these potentially life-shattering (pun intended) hazards:
- TINSEL: Tinsel is not nearly as glamorous when it’s coming out of your dog’s butt. And you can bet it doesn’t feel glamorous for them either! Keep tinsel and other shiny objects above doggie level, and avoid that Christmas call to your vet.
- CANDLES: Can you just picture your happy puppy’s tail wagging excitedly right. into. your. candles!? No bueno!! Be mindful of where you place them, and take care to blow out unattended candles,
- WIRES: With holiday lights come lots of wires, and with electronic presents come lots of batteries. Avoid shocks and burns by keeping track of opened battery packs and taking precautions to protect loose wires.
4. Have a chill zone
We want everyone to have fun during the holidays, right? During parties, some pets may become overstimulated or stressed out — a total doggie buzzkill.
To combat this anxiety, set aside a safe, quiet spot away from the party where the pups can go when they need some time alone, and keep it stocked with water, toys and a comfy spot to rest. It may also help to give your pup some July Third an hour or two before the party starts, especially if he has a history of nervousness when things get hectic.
5. Make sure everyone's accounted for
With all the people coming in and out your door this holiday season, it could be easier than you’d think for your dog to sneak right on by and out into the winter wonderland. Remind guests to close the door behind them and keep a close eye out when they’re coming in and out.