Dog Safety On Holiday
The holidays are fast upon us and this means food and guests and more food. Both of these can be stressful for dogs. Having new people around should be of concern. Even the most docile and loving dog can get a shock to his or her system during the holiday festivities. Be mindful of people fearful of dogs and small children. You may know your four legged buddy well, but your buddy is still a dog with non-human instinct and impulse. Your home is your dog’s home, but your guests’s feelings need to be taken into account, as well as your dog’s. Make a safe space or a barrier space for your dog. Being trapped in a room of people can make a gentle pup a stressed-out pup. Stressed-out can lead to aggression. YES, even your precious angel can get aggressive. You can love your dog, but you must always be realistic.
Now that we have covered the holiday basics of protecting people from your dog, let’s cover protecting your dog from people. Food is the big draw for the holidays and there are some very clear food NO-NO’s and the list starts with bones. NEVER give your dog turkey bones. They can splinter and choke your dog. Make sure your guests are not sneaking bones to your dog. Ham bones are off limits, too. If you plan to make a rare roast, know that rare meat can make dogs sick. Small bits of turkey are alright, as are small pieces of ham. Be careful of how much ham you give your dog because it is very salty. There are the standard other NO-GO’s: chocolate, coffee, caffeinated foods, raisins, grapes, nuts, and citrus. For the complete list and symptoms, and treatment, please visit the ASPCA website.
Make sure you have places for people to deposit used plates and leftover food. This will keep the risk to a minimum. It keeps the dog safe and helps prevent potential food aggression.
The next part of the celebrations that can cause very serious symptoms and/or death would be alcoholic beverages. Alcohol is so dangerous for dogs. People sometimes think it is funny or amusing to give a dog some booze for fun, but the truth of the matter is reversing the damage from alcohol poisoning is hard in humans, and is even harder to reverse in dogs. Even mere ounces can kill a dog, regardless of size. Make sure the adult drinks stay above dog licking level. Have a places for people to put their beverages that will not interfere with their comfort, but will also keep the booze out of the dog’s way. Or simply put the dog in a safe room until the party is over.
More things to consider are candy, flowers/plants, decorations, lights, and toys. Some of us jump at the chance to put up the tree the day after Christmas. This means all the above listed and more. Dogs are like moths to flames when it comes to all the things on a tree they should NOT get near. Candy canes are bad for dogs and their teeth, and are a choking hazard. Stocking should be hung with extreme care as chocolate is often the filler. The tree is a plant and chewing on it is bad for dogs. Also, make sure they can not get access to the water in the stand. Flowers, like Poinsettias and mistletoe, are toxic to dogs. Read the complete list here. Decorations are the highlight of the holidays, and let us assure you, your dog will make a bee-line to them the second your back is turned. Dogs will pick up a glass ornament and chomp without hesitation. Keep the glass high and the plastic low, but not so low that the dog can snatch it off the tree. Lights have wires and some dogs love wires, so if you have one of those dogs, make sure your wires are not accessible. Some dogs may love wires, but ALL puppies love wires, so be extra cautious if you have a four legged best buddy new the family and the holidays.
The pièces de résistance of the holidays, the toys, are the next safety issue. First, anything precious, expensive, fuzzy, cute, battery operated,. exciting, and important should not be left on the floor and within reach of a chewer. Even the most well-behave dog is going to be tempted by all the new things under the tree. Exercise caution and DO NOT expect your kids to monitor what the dog is doing and where all their things are on Christmas morning. They are going to be in an altered state. As the adult, dog monitoring is your job, and especially on this day.
Now for the fun! Shopping for your dog at the holidays is fun for everyone in the family. Use bags and dog print paper for your buddy’s gifts. If your dog is new to your family, you will be shocked to see that your dog will be able to sniff out which bag is his, even among all the things under the tree. The number of gifts and the scent of tree will not fool him for a second! Be generous and you may get your dog to wear that silly Santa hat for a few pics!