The holidays are a special time when the whole family, including our furry friends, comes together for celebration and relaxation. But the joyful spirit of the season could take a serious hit if your beloved pet falls victim to a holiday mishap.
As you get ready to make merry this year, be sure to check this list of pet safety tips twice. That way, both your dog and your home are sure to be properly prepared for a season of pet-friendly festivities.
Create a safe haven for your dog
Chances are your home will be full of hustle and bustle over the holidays, with friends and relatives dropping by for parties, meals and other seasonal events. With all that noise and activity, even the most sociable dog can sometimes get a bit worn out. Give your pet a place to relax spend some time by himself by setting up a quiet area with food, water, some favourite toys and a comfortable bed or cushion.
Whenever possible, it’s also wise to stick to the same schedule for feeding and exercise that your dog is familiar with, rather than disrupting his routine too much.
Prepare holiday visitors for your pet
If you’re having houseguests, make sure they’re ready to share space with your dog. For instance, visitors who aren’t pet owners may need a reminder to make sure any medications are safely stowed away, or to keep exit doors properly closed.
Don’t let holiday treats be a hazard
Food is always a big part of any holiday celebration, but many of the things we eat at Christmas aren’t appropriate for a dog’s diet. Your pet could suffer serious health problems if he indulges in rich and fatty foods, spicy foods or sweet treats such as chocolates. Resist the temptation to share anything from your dinner plate, promptly wrap up and store any leftover food, and make sure garbage bins are pet-proofed so your dog isn’t tempted to eat something he shouldn’t. Remember to feed your dog before hosting a holiday party or meal, and he’ll be less inclined to beg for food or scrounge for scraps.
Alcoholic beverages and caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee are another potential hazard for your pet. Dogs are often attracted to the sweetness of holiday drinks like eggnog, but they can suffer serious consequences and even death by consuming alcohol. Rinse or wash used cups and glasses and keep liquor bottles in a safe place.
Take care with your Christmas tree
Make sure your tree is kept safely upright with a secure base and stand. You might even consider using twine or fishing line to attach the tree to the wall or ceiling to further decrease the chances of your dog knocking it over.
Make sure your dog never drinks the water in the tree stand, which could contain harmful fertilizers and bacteria. Consider using a special tree stand like the Krinner Tree Genie, which has an enclosed basin with a water indicator on the outside.
Try to be vigilant about cleaning up fallen needles – they can irritate your dog’s mouth and stomach. Other holiday plants, such as holly, mistletoe and poinsettias can also cause health problems to pets, so be careful where you place them around your home.
When decorating your tree, put lights and decorations up high so they’re out of the reach of curious dogs. Shiny items, such as tinsel and lights, could be harmful if chewed or swallowed. Edible decorations, ones with sharp edges or those made of delicate material, such as glass, should be put well away from pets or avoided altogether.
Keep wrapping paper under wraps
Wrapping and unwrapping gifts is a fun family activity, but not a particularly pet-friendly one. Your dog could be tempted to chew on ribbons and string, bite through plastic packaging or chomp on sharp scissors. Keep your dog out of harm’s way when wrapping presents, and be sure to clean up the mess of paper and packaging once all the gifts have been opened.