Of course you want to include your dog in the holiday celebrations but it’s easy to forget that the holidays bring a new set of safety concerns for your dog.
Once you put up your decorations your dog will want to scope out the additions to his environment. And as you know the way dogs inspect is with their mouths and noses. Be especially careful with electrical chords, one bite through the plastic shielding could put a damper on your whole holiday season. Make sure they’re safely away from inquisitive noses or at the very least taped down or hidden.
It goes without saying that dogs and naked flames are not a great combination. If you do light candles make sure they’re safely out of your dog’s reach and (dog or no dog) candles should never be left unattended.
Be particularly careful of Christmas foliage. By now most people know that Poinsettia is poisonous but holly, lilly, Jerusalem cherry, and mistletoe can also make your dog (or you) sick if ingested. Pine needles, if ingested can puncture a dogs stomach so be watchful of your dog around the tree and don’t let him drink the tree water, it can harbor bacteria and pesticides.
Tip: Place crunchy aluminum foil or bubble wrap around the tree to prevent your dog from getting too close
If your dogs are allowed in the dining room it’s going to be difficult to refuse them scraps, however be very careful of what you give them. Holiday foods tend to be richer and fattier than everyday foods. They will often contain more sodium and of course more sugar, all of which can play havoc on with a dogs delicate digestion. As a rule of thumb its never a good idea to give your dogs the following foods:
* Onions and garlic, which can both cause anemia
* Chocolate, especially dark chocolate
* Grapes and Raisins
* Cooked bones especially poultry bones)
* Alcohol not only is it unhealthy but do you really want to have to enroll your dog in a 12 step program?
But it’s not all doom and gloom here are a few items that are great for dogs:
* Raw Carrots, great for dental hygiene and most dogs love them
* Broth, an excellent way to treat your dog to a little extra flavor, let it cool and then pour a little over his favorite food.
* Cooked Vegetables, in small amounts, the one exception to this rule is corn, some dogs are allergic.
* Cottage Cheese a great way to add flavor to your dogs food.
Holiday parties are often loud and confusing for dogs, especially nervous dogs. It’s often better to have them stay with neighbors or keep them upstairs for the duration of the party. Even the most social dogs should have somewhere to retreat to if it all get’s too much Don’t forget to leave plenty of water and make sure you take time to take him for a nice long walk both before and after the party. It will help release some of the energy and make sure there are no accidents.
Tip: It’s a good idea to tell your guests in advance that you own dogs, some people are uncomfortable around dogs and of course there are those who are allergic.
And above all, whatever your dogma, whether you plan on celebrating Christmas, Hannukah, Kwansa or the winter solstice have a happy healthy and joyous time.