Keep Your Dog Safe During the Holidays

Edited by Mian Sheilette Ong, Eng, Lynn, Anonymous and 2 others

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Dogs are often considered to be family members with specialized needs. They have heightened senses and they respond with more intensity than you would in an ordinary situation. During special occasions like the holidays, your dog becomes exposed to many unconventional tastes, sounds, smells, and sights. You may be entertained by fireworks but for them, it's chaos. Candies, chocolates, and other indulgent foods may be delicious to you, but they are also dangerously tempting to them. Glitter and wrappers may be attractive to you, but edible to them. As a responsible pet parent, you have to make sure that they are as safe as the small children are, especially during the holidays. Exert a little effort in making your home doggie-proof so you won't have to knock down your vet's clinic door on Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year's.

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Common Holiday Issues for Dogs

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It would really be great if your dog could join in the holiday celebrations the way you do. They could eat and drink whatever they want, enjoy the different loud noises, frolic in the cold weather, and tolerate grand decorations at festive parties. No matter how hard we wish for it, they just won't be able to do so. Dogs are like children. There are certain limits to what they can take. Their senses are much more sensitive than those of humans. That is why they need to be given a whole lot of consideration during the holiday season. Stimuli are heightened during festivities and you have to make sure that your dog is safe, whatever role he has to play during the gathering.

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Common issues that you may have with dogs during the holidays

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    Giving dogs as presents.
    Holidays are always perfect for giving cute little puppies as presents. It benefits a puppy that needs a home and a loved one who needs a companion. Many people make a pretty box with holes in it because a puppy is procured as a present. This could be a very difficult time for the pup. Consider the time he or she is supposed to stay in the box until it is actually opened. It would be better to assemble a puppy kit for your loved one. Afterwards, accompany your loved one to a reputable breeder or shelter to choose the most compatible puppy.
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    Making dogs wear costumes.
    Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's are only some of the most popular holidays that become fads for dog owners. It is almost irresistible to dress up your dog with elaborate costumes so that they can take part in the fun. Before you decide to make your dog wear anything, make sure that the costume allows your dog to have freedom of movement. See that the costume won't strangle or choke your dog. If your dog is uncomfortable in any of the ones you choose, it may be best to have him or her dress up as him or herself. A fancy, elaborate collar will do.
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    Hanging decorations and wrapping up gifts in the house.
    The holiday spirit is not complete without gifts, yarn, twine, cards, tinsel, and sparkling ornaments hanging everywhere. Dogs love these things, but they don't stop at just looking at them. Dog-proof your home by hanging decorations at unreachable heights to your dogs. Place the gifts I,n an elevated area. Never leave decorative bits and pieces on the floor. These maybe decorations and gift elements but if your dog eats them, you may have to end up in the vet on Christmas Eve.
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    Lighting fireworks.
    Aside from the Fourth of July, New Year's Eve is a time when we get to play with fireworks to ward off evil entities for the New Year. It is one of the busiest holidays in animal shelters because many dogs run away in fear of fireworks. It would be best to keep your dogs away from the fireworks and not force them to watch a show that obviously frightens them.
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    Special foods.
    Holidays allow you to have an excuse for eating anything as much as you can. For your dogs, the challenge is just to convince you to give them some of the indulgent food you have on the table. Foods like candies, chocolates, and alcoholic beverages are toxic for your dogs. It is always ideal to feed your dogs before you start your feasting. This way, they will not beg or snatch food from your guests. Keep cigarettes unreachable to them as well. They are also hazardous to your dog's health.
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Important Tips on How to Keep Your Dogs Safe During the Holidays

You are an excellent dog owner if you are willing to keep your dog safe during the holidays. Take note of the following reminders so that you and your dog can go through the holidays without a significant level of fear, worry, or injury:

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For Loud Noise

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    Keep your dog inside a room where he or she feels safe and secure.
    It should be the area farthest away from noise.
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    Consult an animal behaviorist to help your dog with fear.
    If you do this in advance, you may not have a problem with your dog during parties the following year.
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    Stay with your dog if the noise upsets him or her.
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    If you know your dog becomes extremely anxious, talk to your veterinarian about a tranquilizer on the day of the celebration.
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For Christmas Trees and Other Decorations

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    Secure your Christmas tree if you think your dog my jump on it, or if your dog has a powerful wagging tail.
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    Hang breakable ornaments with small parts in areas that are unreachable for your dogs.
    If they reach them, they might end up swallowing the ornaments or cutting themselves with the broken parts.
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    If your have decorative plants in water, place them on a higher surface, especially if you have placed chemicals in the water.
    Bacteria are also fixtures in stagnant water. Ultimately, your dogs will get sick if they drink that water.
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    Place the twine, tinsel, garlands, or ribbons on high surfaces to keep your dog from eating them.
    These could block their digestive tract or puncture their vital organs.
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    Always clear the floor of pine needles because these are very toxic to dogs as well.
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    Keep holiday plants out of your dog's reach.
    Be aware of lilies, poinsettias, mistletoe (causes heart problems), ivy, holly (causes lethargy, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting), hibiscus (causes diarrhea), and amaryllis (causes both diarrhea and vomiting).
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    Keep extension cords, candles, potpourris, and lights away from your dogs.
    These could easily cause accidents, poisoning, fires, or fatalities.
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For Feasts

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    Let everyone at the table know that your dog should not be given fatty and rich foods like gravy or turkey skins.
    Your dog could easily suffer from diarrhea, stomach upset, vomiting, and digestive gland inflammation.
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    Be careful not to include the strings in the turkey meat you give your dog.
    These can obstruct your dog's digestive tract.
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    Do not give foods with onions (causes anemia), raisins/grapes (causes kidney failure), chocolate (causes heart damage, kidney damage, and has theobromine which is toxic), coffee, nicotine (increases heart rate, leading to death), and alcohol.
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    Do not give any type of bone, especially poultry bones because these can easily perforate the dog's intestinal tract.
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    Keep leftovers in airtight containers.
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    Always keep your dog away from the garbage bin.
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    Keep your veterinarian's number or the animal poison control number ready at all times.
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For Stress and Guests

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    Prepare a relaxing room for your dog to escape to when things are getting too busy for them.
    Make sure that the space has water, food, and bedding.
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    Remind your guests to be aware of where they put their cigarettes.
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    Tell your guests that they are not allowed to give treats to your dog.
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    Make sure that your dog has an identification tag at all times in case the door opens long enough for them to bolt out.
    It would be best to just watch your door.
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It's always better to have a happy and unforgettable holiday season with your dog safe and sound in your home. Remember that your dog is a family member. The best care should always be provided to your faithful companion and dearest friend.

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Some Dog-Safe Celebration Practices

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During the holidays, you can make your dog a special part of the celebration through the following practices:

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    Relieve holiday stress (for you and your dog) by taking extra long walks.
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    Stock up on treats so that you can always give them some of those instead of people food.
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    Give a donation to the local shelter in your pet's name.
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    Give your dog a new chew toy or a new bed during the opening of gifts.
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Things to Remember when Caring for Your Dog during the Holidays

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    Always keep your dog's routines. Dogs love routine.
    Any break from what they do stresses them out. your best to walk, play, and feed your dog the same way even if there are guests in the house or even if you have to do many holiday errands.
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  2. 2
    Provide some quiet time for your dog. Choose a point in the day when you could provide relaxation times for your dog regularly.
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  3. 3
    Give fresh water all the time. The activities that your dog engages in during the holidays results to more thirst.
    Always fill your dog's water bowl.
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  4. 4
    Consult your veterinarian about safe medications that could help calm your dog. Some dogs are very excitable and these medications can help relax and soothe them.
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    Tell your guests to not bring their pets when they visit. Do this if you know that your dog isn't friends with their pets yet.
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    Let your guests know that giving fatty tidbits to your dog is not allowed. You can just give your dog the treats you set aside.
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    Keep your dog in a safe room if guests are all over the house. This prevents your dog from accessing food and drinks left at their height level.
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    Supervise kids and dogs when they're together. They should be with someone who knows when the kids and dogs need time off so they don't get stressed.
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What to Train your Dog in Advance

Training you dog in advance will help keep the fun and reduce the anxiety at your holiday party. Here are some commands you can consider teaching your dog:

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    "Leave it"/"Drop it". This tool allows your dog to not touch anything or leave anything you tell them to.
    You can apply this when there is food dropped on the ground or any object your dog is not supposed to have.
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  2. 2
    "Down", "Sit", and "Wait". These commands prevent your dog from jumping all over your guests or dashing out the door.
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  3. 3
    "Go to Bed"/ "Place". This teaches your dog to stay in a designated corner and wait unless you say so.
    This prevents begging during mealtimes.
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Many dog surf the counters and take anything they can. This can be prevented by cancelling them out with a "Leave it " command. If you know that your dog has already been a successful counter surfer, it would be best to isolate him until he learns not to do it again.

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Tips

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  • Note the ingredients when you decide to give table scraps to your dog during the holidays.
  • Portion control during the holidays should be practiced especially with your dog's appetite.
  • Be aware of the toxic holiday foods.
  • Purchase dog-friendly holiday treats for your dogs.
  • Socialize your dog well so that there won't be biting incidents around guests.
  • Expose your dog to different stimuli so that fear won't overwhelm him or her during the holidays.
  • If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.
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Article Info

Categories : Dogs | Holidays & Traditions

Recent edits by: Laurel Waddell, Anonymous, Lynn

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