Keeping your Dog Safe During the Hectic Holidays

two-puppies-sitting-on-the-grassIt’s officially the holiday season, and with it comes a long list of things to do and to remember. Unfortunately, many people often forget about their pets during this season. Although it’s hard to forget that they’re there, it is hard to remember what things can be hazardous and stressful for your animal, especially when you’re stressed about making sure everything goes as planned during the holidays. Unfortunately, many things that come with the holidays can be extremely hazardous to your pet, including holiday food, decorations, and even just plenty of people hanging around can be potentially dangerous. Fortunately, you can take a few steps to help keep your pet safe and happy, all without having to make huge changes to your holiday plans. (Image Source)

  1. Food
  2. One of everyone’s favorite parts of the holidays is the tasty treats that everyone gets. Whether it is turkey, pumpkin pie, latkes, ham, eggnog, or cookies, there is something about the holidays that changes a normal food item into something special and something that everyone looks forward to. However, there are some holiday foods that can be very dangerous for your pet to ingest. When you do have your food ready though, there will always be that temptation to share the holiday spirit with your pet by giving them a few nibbles of the food, and while your intentions may be good, the result can be disastrous.First of all, giving animals too much people food can be dangerous for their long term health as they can contract serious diseases such as diabetes, but there a few foods in particular that you should avoid giving your pets. First of all, although it’s often a joke, never give alcoholic beverages to your animal. Giving them alcohol can cause a list of problems including alcohol poisoning or even make them go into a coma. Also on the list are foods such as chocolate, grapes or raisins, onions, or anything with poultry bones. Each of these can cause very painful situations, or even death, for your pet. If you want to give your dog a little treat, and you’re sure it is in good health, remember that they’re carnivores and just give them meat!

  3. Decorations
  4. Decorating your home for the holidays is an important part of getting into the holiday spirit. It just seems to create an energy that makes people happy and relaxed, so it’s no real wonder why so many people take part in the decorations for the holidays. However, a lot of the decorations used in the home can be dangerous to your pets, including mistletoe berries. Fortunately, most disasters can be diverted with the simple use of common sense. One constant in most holiday celebrations is the use of candles. They set a great mood, smell nice, and provide a good ambience; however animals will chew on just about anything, including candles. The wax itself is harmful when swallowed, but any additional substances used in the candle can also be equally as dangerous, if not fatal. Chemicals used to make scents could be toxic if ingested, not to mention the risk of knocking over lit candles.Animals don’t know this so it’s up to you to make sure that these things stay out of their reach. It is probably a good idea to do this with all decorations. Potpourri and dried flowers in wreaths can all make animals sick, while small glass or plastic figurines can shatter and get stuck in paws and gums causing large amounts of pain to your pet. Old tinsel could be made of lead and even lead-free tinsel can get tangled in their mouths or be ingested. All of these events can cause your pet to get sick, but they can all be avoided with a little common sense. If you think your pet would be interested in playing with or eating a decoration, do your best to keep it out of their reach or sight to keep away temptation from coming into their mind.

  5. People
  6. Of course lots of animals love people, and vice versa. Dogs often find delight in the company of lots of people, and even some cats like the presence of another person to sit and play with. However, the holidays present a unique mass of cheerful visitors. With so many friends and family members coming over, your house could get crowded quickly, adding additional stress on your pet. This stress grows exponentially if it is a new puppy or kitten. An unfamiliar place with lots and lots of new people nearby can easily scare the pet, and a pet that is scared and stressed can often react in uncharacteristic ways. This means that even your pet who is the most gentle and loving animal could be scared into a position where they become unsocial or violent.And if this is their first time around a lot of people, there is a good chance that they will have an accident in the house out of fear or excitement. If you notice your pet starting to act scared or uncomfortable around so many people, take them into a quiet room and give them some food, water, and a toy for them to occupy themselves with. If they want they can always come back out, but if they have their own quiet spot then they will be far more likely to stay calm and collected.

So when you start planning your holiday schedules, be sure that you don’t forget about your four-legged friend and take them into consideration as well, they’ll be just as thankful this holiday season.

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