Including Your Dog in Your Holiday Festivities

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We love to include our dogs in everything we do and our holiday festivities are no exception. But there’s no quicker way to put a damper on your Christmas spirit than with a visit to the pet emergency room. So deck the halls and trim the tree, but be sure to follow our safety tips to make sure EVERYONE in the family has a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Pet-friendly decorations

Tinsel, popcorn strands, broken ornaments and exposed wires all pose dangers to your dog. Be sure to keep breakables out of your dog’s reach, or consider decorating only in rooms that are off-limits to him. Securely anchoring your tree and surrounding it with a pet gate will help to keep nosy fido from knocking it over.

Candle safety

Candlesticks, kinaras and menorahs should be placed well out of reach of your dog’s wagging tail or jumping paws. Be certain the surface they’re on is sturdy and level, so they can’t be knocked over. Of course, never leave lit candles unattended.

Watch out for Santa’s milk and cookies

Chocolate chips and macadamia nuts pose a poisoning hazard to your dog. Other known dangers include raisins, fatty foods, bones of any kind and alcoholic beverages, so clear counters promptly and keep an eye on cocktails!

Choose non-toxic plants

Though they’re lovely and festive, holly and mistletoe are toxic to pets. Christmas tree needles contain oils that can irritate your dogs mouth and are not easily digested, which can cause stomach irritation, vomiting, intestinal obstruction or puncture. Stagnant tree water can contain preservatives or anti-freeze to keep the tree fresh, but these can often be harmful or deadly to your dog.

Clean up after gift-giving

If ingested, string and ribbon used for wrapping can become tangled in your dog’s intestines and cause blockage or rupture. Be certain to put away any human gifts with small parts that may pose a choking hazard for curious pets.

Make sure guests know the rules

Encourage your guests to interact kindly with your dog, but keep a watchful eye for signs that your dog is overwhelmed or needs a break. Provide healthy dog treats for your guests to give to your dog so they won’t be tempted to share their human food. Always watch children with your dog. Holiday gatherings can be over-stimulating for both children and dogs, so interactions between the two should always be supervised by a grown-up.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Good manners are a must to stay on the “Nice” list. Proof your sit, stay, leave it, drop it and go to place behaviors well in advance. If you need a refresher, consider a Basic Obedience course.