Holiday Pet Tips

With house guests, elaborate décor and tempting treats everywhere, the holiday season can be very stressful for you and your pets. Here are a few suggestions to keep you and your pets safe and sane during the holidays:

Use ribbon or yarn to attach ornaments to a Christmas tree. Metal hangers can easily get caught in your pet’s mouth. Also try to place your most fragile ornaments to the top of the tree.

Mistletoe is toxic to pets! If you want to hang mistletoe, use the artificial kind. Poinsettia sap is also very poisonous and can cause your pet extreme stomach discomfort, sometimes severe enough to require a vet visit.

Keep burning candles away from wagging tails and prying whiskers!

Pets will often mistake a water-filled tree stand for their very own watering hole: Don’t put any special chemicals in the water to help extend the life of the tree.

No table scraps! Holiday scraps are too rich for your pets and can cause stomach discomfort or create choking hazards.

Keep human food out of your pet’s reach. Counter raiding dogs have been known to steal whole pies. Keep an eye on your garbage cans, too.

NO CHOCOLATE! An ounce of chocolate can kill a dog, such as, a Chihuahua, that weighs 6 lbs. Four to eight ounces of chocolate can kill a dog, such as, a Labrador that weighs 60 lbs or more.

The stress and excitement of the holiday season can affect your pets, too! Make sure you maintain the same schedule and spend the same amount of time with them as you normally do.

While it may be cute to teach your dog to unwrap his own boxed presents, you’re asking for trouble: He may think its ok to help everyone unwrap their presents.

Make sure your pet is wearing ID tags and that the information is up-to-date. With all the comings and goings in and out of your home, it will be easy for your pets to slip out unnoticed. Also, let your guests know to keep an eye out for possible escape artists.

If your dog spends long periods of time outside during the cold weather, make sure that his water supply doesn’t freeze. He may look for alternative water sources that aren’t safe and clean.

Don’t let the cold and ice keep you or your dog from his routine. Continue to walk your dog or visit the dog park. If your dog begins “high stepping” when it’s icy outside, consider getting booties to protect his paws from the elements and the chemicals found in many de-icing products.

Remember to include your four-legged friends during this holiday season…

Invite friends to your house instead of going out: You’ll be able to practice polite greeting skills with your dog, and save money at the same time. If your friends have a social dog, have them bring him/her along for a supervised play-date.

Consider buying your pets special treats or premium quality food for their holiday dinner.

Buy your pets presents. Put them in a stocking so they can’t reach them until you’re ready. When the family is occupied opening presents, your pets will have something special of their own to play with or chew!

Yes, old dogs can learn new tricks! Spend a few minutes each evening with your dog teaching him a new trick. Roll over, fetch, shake, etc. Your dog will love the mental stimulation of learning something new, he will be receiving positive reinforcement from you (praise and treats!) and when your friends come over they will be so impressed with how smart he is!

Happy Holidays!