The holiday season is typically that time of year, which we gather the most with family & friends. And often times, our fur friends accompany us in some of the festivities and get-togethers. We all want to have fun and be merry, but we also want everyone to be safe-including our pets. Nothing can spoil holiday cheer like an emergency visit to a veterinary clinic. As claimed by many veterinarians, the holiday season is one of the most dangerous times of the year for pets! Listed below are recommendations and tips you can practice to ensure your pets are safe, feel loved and have fun during this wonderful time of year!
Train & Don’t Complain
Our pets rely on us for learning and knowing what behaviors are acceptable and which ones are not. Also, try to stick to your dog’s daily routine – walks, feeding, playtime. Dogs like routine, and to deviate from their normal routine will cause stress. Barking, digging, jumping up, begging for food, etc are all normal pet behaviors, but for most people and guests, few find them enjoyable. House guests typically set your pet off to do mischievous things, and even the best trained dogs need some refreshing when it comes to their manners. Basic obedience training can help keep your pet safe and happy, as well as in good standing with your party guests this holiday season.
For example, if your dog is a well known counter-surfer, consider baby-gating him/her out of the kitchen when preparing the holiday feast. When guests arrive and your pet just can’t seem to help themselves with food, make a comfortable area for them away from guests to ensure everyone is safe and happy. If your pet has anxiety or just becomes stressed during this hectic season, Pet Hemp oil is a holistic alternative to any prescription medication for stress. Give your dog something else to do rather than letting him/her become unemployed and getting into trouble. A peanut butter or kibble filled KONG is a great idea and activity that will keep their bellies full and senses occupied. Along with this, make sure to check in on them in between the chaos and entertainment and give them some TLC and remind them they are safe. Another tip is to make sure your pet has the proper identification on them in the event they escape or get lost. Keep all doors closed and If you know your pet is one to bolt, at least keep them secured while everyone is arriving.
Respect All Species
Avoid forcing your dog on non-dog people, and don’t let guests force themselves on your dog. And don’t expect others to enjoy the same type of interaction with your dog as you do. Some people may have traumatic pasts with animals and simply just fear your pet. In contrast, if there are children or people who are a little too confident with your dog, set clear ground rules for how your dog is to be treated and if necessary, politely remove your dog from the situation if guests are unable or unwilling to follow them. Watch your dog closely for signs that he’s uncomfortable, such as yawning, lip-licking, turning away, shaking, wide eyed or simply trying to get away from the situation. Lastly, if you know your dog has fear or aggression issues, guarantee success by completely avoiding interactions that can trigger unwanted or unsafe behavior. It’s better to safely confine a dog away from the party than to risk a bite or sabotage training progress.
Decorations or Disaster?
Be mindful of holiday decorations. Strings of lights, breakable ornaments, poisonous plants, and glowing candles can attract curious pets. Management and supervision is a must during the holiday season.
- Keep your dog away from holiday plants as many of these are poisonous.
- If you put up a tree, consider securing it so it doesn’t fall over on them. Always keep supervision on them when around a tree.
- Don’t let your dog chew on the tree. Eating needles can irritate a dog’s mouth and digestive tract.
- If your pet (dogs and cats) likes to play with ornaments on the tree, decorate the bottom third of the tree with ornaments that won’t break.
- Don’t leave the lights on or wires plugged in when you’re not home.
- Make sure you pick up all the tinsel, ornament hooks, etc. from the floor.
- If you have a real tree, make sure the water bowl is covered so you dog can’t drink from it in case there’s any pine sap, bacteria, fertilizers or other toxic chemicals in the bowl.
- Keep all gifts that contain food, chemicals, and batteries off the floor and away from your dog.
- Choose gifts for your dog that are safe and non-toxic.
Leave the Leftovers
Rich, fatty foods can cause stomach problems varying from a simple tummy upset to more serious, pancreatitis – inflammation of the pancreas resulting in pain, vomiting, and dehydration. Dogs with this serious condition usually require hospitalization for treatment. Let your guests know to refrain from feeding table scraps and be sure to pet-proof the garbage. Be especially mindful of any cooked bones or foods that are toxic to dogs-avocados, grapes, spices, yeast dough, chocolate, raisins, coffee, candy, gum, baked goods, onions, garlic, alcohol. So basically, If it’s not dog food don’t feed it to them! Keep your local emergency vet’s phone number handy, along with driving directions just In case.
Holiday festivities can become hectic, but don’t forget to relax and spend quality time with your family, friends and pets! And one last thing, PLEASE avoid giving a pet as a holiday gift. The holidays are not ideal for introducing a new pet into a family. New pets require a stable environment and plenty of extra attention and time to bond with their new family. Researching and making sure a pet is the right choice for your home and anyone in it beforehand, is a must. Remember, pets are a LIFELONG commitment, responsibility and privilege. Soon after the holiday season, is the time animal shelters are most full, due to people committing to an animal and then changing their mind. And if you are considering a new pet for the holidays ADOPT ADOPT ADOPT! Please don’t ever think going to a puppy store is the answer. Most of the animals in pet stores are from puppy mills, sickly and have orthopedic issues early in life. There are so many animals in shelters that need homes, so open your heart to saving a soul before buying one.
About Walk’n Dogs – A Dog Care Company | Winter Park, FL
Rachel has been working in the Pet Care Industry for the last few years and started her career in a local Canine Health & Fitness Center that also incorporated canine hydrotherapy, dog daycare & boarding. While working at Rocky’s Retreat, under the previous ownership of Sherri Cappabianca and Toby Gass, Rachel became certified in canine hydrotherapy and they taught her everything she knows about canine care, hydrotherapy, health and fitness.
Rachel is currently the owner/founder of Dip’n Dogs Canine Hydrotherapy and Walk’n Dogs – A Dog Walking Service in the Orlando, FL area. Dip’n Dogs provides water therapy for dogs with any orthopedic condition, degenerative disease, injury or obesity. Walk’n Dogs provides in-home visits for dog walking, pet sitting, pet taxi and pet errands. Each service is customized to fit each dog and their needs. Rachel caters to the Winter Park, Baldwin Park, Maitland, College Park, and Altamonte Springs, FL areas.
Rachel is also the owner and dog mom to her two beagles, Leo and Lola.