Celebrating the holidays with family, especially fuzzy family members, can be absolutely delightful. With a little preparation and dog-proofing, you can have a safe and relaxed holiday with your dog. For sitters caring for dogs, now is a great time to review Rover 101 for additional tips.
Prepare for guests
One of the best parts of the holiday season is spending time with friends and family. While you prepare your home for guests, prepare it for your dog as well.
- Let your guests know ahead of time if there will be dogs in your home, so that they can use extra care when entering and exiting. Set up a second barrier like an exercise pen around the door to keep the dogs from slipping out as guests arrive and depart.
- Sprinkling the sidewalk with anti-freeze for your guests? Make sure you get a canine-safe type. Many types of anti-freeze are alluring to dogs due to the sweet flavor, but it’s highly toxic.
- Is your dog shy around new people? Set up a room they can retreat to during parties. You can also try calming methods like Comfort Zone dog appeasing pheromones or Rescue Remedy.
- For dog sitters: Make sure pet parents know about all guests, both furry and human, that you’ll have over the holidays so that they know what to expect. Pet parents will often have tips about how their dog gets along with other pets and people. For example, a dog may be skittish around adult men or may not be comfortable with big dogs.
Be mindful of food
The holidays are filled with delicious food, from chocolate Santas to rump roast. Your dog thinks these things are great too, but they could cause a New Year’s Eve trip to the emergency vet. It’s vital to keep pets away from these foods during the holidays:
- Rump roast: The meat-soaked string from roast is especially tempting for our canine friends. These can get caught in their intestines if consumed.
- Chocolate: The theobromine found in chocolate can cause devastating effects.
- Alcohol: Keep the eggnog away from low tables that your dog might reach.
- Sugar-free candy: Xylitol, found in gum and other sugar-free candy, can cause liver failure.
Avoid decoration disasters
Holiday lights and tinsel are beautiful. Here are some tips for choosing safe ones for your pets.
- Hang the stockings on the chimney with care: Many dogs can jump and grab stockings. If these are full of candy or small toys, it can be very dangerous for your pet.
- Christmas tree decorations: Many tree decorations can harm the digestive system. Tinsel, popcorn strings, and even lights can block intestines. Pine needles can perforate them. Put up a small gate around your tree if your dog likes to eat non-food items.
- Candles: Make sure those gingerbread candles are on high counters and not low coffee tables. A wagging tail can knock them over.
- Giving someone food for Christmas? Don’t put the wrapped present under the tree until right before you will be opening them.
- Artificial snow on trees and wreaths can be poisonous and even lead to death.
- Keep houseplants out of reach: Several plants can have a range of effects from a mild stomachache to kidney failure in pets. These include: amaryllis, daffodils, poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe.
- Look out for garbage cans and grocery bags on counters. These items may not be as closely watched, and they could end up being a disastrous holiday feast for dogs.
Additional tips for the season
- If your neighborhood hosts fireworks for New Years, ensure your dog has a safe, quiet place to spend their time during the fireworks show.
- With the cold weather this time of year, it is important to be mindful of how much time your dog spends outside or in the car, as dogs are susceptible to hypothermia.
From all of us at Rover, have a safe and wonderful holiday season with your pets!
The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional veterinary help.