Halloween kicks off the holiday season, leading to Thanksgiving in November and Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza and other holidays in December, and then there is New Year’s Eve. You’re planning a lot of celebrations, which of course includes food, gifts and decorations. Your dog is just as excited as you are. He or she loves the loose wrapping paper, the ornaments, the table scraps. One of your pet’s favorite things is your Christmas tree, especially the real ones. You likely know why that is. You understand that the tree in the house for decorative purposes, but your dog sees and smells a tree. He or she is not interested as to why it is in the house, it just makes it more convenient for them to relieve themselves. And if they’re not using it as personal toilet, they are pulling off the ornaments, many of which are glass, or chewing on the electrical cords attached to all those lovely lights.
No one, least of all you, wants to see your furry loved one ill because they did something they weren’t supposed to do. Dog behaviorists, veterinarians and the SPCA all have tips on how to best protect your doggy during the holiday season. Here are a few of them:
- Placement of your tree. As mentioned above, the Christmas tree seems to be the most endearing item to your pet during the holidays. To make sure your pet knows that the fir, its water, stand and ornaments are off limits, you might:
- Elevate the tree off the ground, but make sure it’s secured to a sturdy surface.
- Install a gate to make it off limits.
- Hang the Christmas tree upside down from the ceiling (before you decorate it) so that it is out of your pet’s reach.
- Cover the water at the base of the tree with foil or another type of top. The water may contain fertilizer and other things that will not be good for your pet’s system.
- Put a rubber mat near the tree with the nub side up so that it is uncomfortable, but not harmful, when they step on it.
- Avoid flocking. It looks great but it can be a disaster for your pet.
- Ornaments. We love ornaments and so do our pets. They are shiny and can be quite inviting, while the strung popcorn, cranberries, etc. scream snack time. This may pose a dangerous situation for your pet. To keep them safe:
- Avoid hanging any ornaments on the lower branches, and if possible place the more delicate, breakable items on the higher branches.
- Keep the tinsel on higher branches of the tree. Both cats and dogs may eat tinsel with negative consequences.
- Make sure any edibles (popcorn, cranberries, etc.) are secured to the tree branches and cannot fall to the ground. This can be hazardous for your pet if they were to eat them from the floor.
- Put some Vick’s Vapo Rub on the lower branches. The smell will repel most dogs. It will also cover up the sweet or salty smell of the edibles on the tree.
- Candles. Candles are a widely used element in holiday decorations, but anything lit becomes enticing to your pet. And if they knock it over, you have a fire. To avoid this:
- Place lit candles on a high shelf that your dog cannot access.
- Use LED candles.
- If you’re using candles to cover up odors, try a scented oil diffuser instead.
- Feeding. Encourage your guests not to feed the animals. There are several items that will make your pet ill:
- Chocolate can cause heart attacks in dogs.
- Turkey is okay to give to your pet as long as it is the white meat without any fat, bones or skin. Otherwise it may lead to pancreatitis.
- Berries and nuts may result in choking.
- Onions and garlic contain a compound that breaks down red blood cells and can lead to anemia in your dog. In some instances, it can also result in panting, elevated heart rate, and vomiting.
- The best advice is to keep food out of your pet’s reach.
- Xmas Stockings. If you pooch likes to get into the Christmas stockings, try to:
- Hang them higher.
- Wait until the night before to fill them.
- Give your dog some special toys to play with so that he or she won’t be so interested in your stockings.
- Excitement. Remove your pet from the hustle and bustle:
- Crate your dog in another room, away from all the shiny objects and other temptations, but don’t ignore them. Check in every hour.
- Hire a pet sitter to take the dog out for the day or keep him or her overnight.
- Take your dog to obedience training prior to the holidays.
Your pets are just being curious. There is something new in their environment and they want to smell, taste and touch it. This is their natural instinct, but it may end up making them quite ill. So, try to follow the suggestions above and keep your pet safe and your sanity intact.
You may also want to bring your pet into the doggy daycare at Pet Lovers Resort so that they stay out of trouble while you cook and get everything prepared for the family and holiday guests. While your dog is with us, we can groom them too.
We are conveniently located right off the 101 Freeway at 18416 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana, CA 91356.
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