With the Holidays upon us our “Fur Kids” need to be safe! We are all busy and our lives and schedules change over the Holidays due to shopping, traveling, baking, Christmas Parties and many other activities. What doesn’t change is the fact that our “Fur Kids” are still in need of our attention and thoughtfulness. My hope is that by writing this it will help you and your family in keeping our beloved companions happy and safe so that we may all enjoy the Holidays.
First let’s talk about potential FOOD DANGERS for our dogs; many of our Holiday foods are toxic for our dogs. Chocolate, raisins, the foil that candies are packaged in are just a few. Remember that your dog is curious and if it smells good and they are of the personality to “Help Themselves” they can potential eat themselves right into the Emergency Vet Clinic. Protect your pets by making sure these types things are out of their reach an that you don’t accidentally leave them where they can be eaten. If you hang candies on your tree hang them high and make sure then are not going to fall off the tree. If you bake, don’t leave things unattended where you dogs can “help themselves” to a little Holiday Treat.
Next up is DECORATIONS; If you put tinsel on your tree beware that it can wrap in your dogs intestines and cause serious health issues if not death. My recommendation is that if you put tinsel on your tree or garland then put an X-pen around your tree. An ounce of prevention is potentially going to save your dogs life or at a minimum a very large vet bill. Remember that most ornaments are attractive toys to your dogs and if they decide to eat them can cause potentially life threatening illness if not, at a minimum, many hours in a vet clinic with a very ill dog. Take precautions.
Many people TRAVEL over the Holidays. Please make sure you plan ahead if you are taking your dog with you. Plan for the worst and hope for the best. When I travel with my dogs over the Holidays they are both in a harness and seat belted or crated in my vehicles. It depends on which vehicle I am using. They are at ALL TIMES secured so that if the worst happens (I get in an accident) they are secured so that they will not bolt and potentially get hit or run in fear. Also, if I have to hit my brakes they are also secured so that they do not get thrown around. I have crates in my SUV for them and in my pick-up I have harnesses that attach to the seat belts so that they are secure. Dogs are at risk in an accident because they can break legs and get internal injuries if not secured and worst case they will bolt and run if frightened. My “Fur Kids” are always secured in my vehicles.
While VISITING with friends or relatives some people bring their dogs with. While it is wonderful to have our “Fur Kids” with us over the Holidays it is very stressful for them. They are in a new environment and what they are used to at home is now all different and the stimulation they are exposed to is at Mach 10! Every sensory thing that you can imagine is ten fold for them. They are in an environment they are not used too, with people that are not used to them and their routines and some people may not be dog savvy and could potentially leave something harmful to your dogs within their reach. You are your dogs first line of defense. You must be certain they are safe and that nothing harmful is available to them. If possible it is often best for your dogs to leave them at home. They are in an environment they know and are safe in. If you have to take them then please be aware of everything and everyone that is around them.
CHILDREN are very excited during the Holiday season. If your dog is not used to children be aware this may be a stimulant to them that they are not comfortable with. If the children are not used to dogs they may not understand how to read a dog or understand “Dog Body Language”. Some children have not been taught how to treat a dog. Some children may not know that a dog cannot eat chocolate and because it is yummy for them may try and feed your dog a little chocolate. Be aware at all times of what is going on with your dog. Some dogs are not comfortable around children. Know your dogs comfort zone. Be your dogs advocate and keep them safe.
STRESS: Don’t forget that your dog can feed off your emotions …….if you are feeling stressed so will your dog. If your dog is exhibiting some behaviors that would not be normal for them ask yourself why? How are you feeling and/or acting? Are you stressed, hurried, less patient? Your dog will feel this from you and could be confused. Remember, as busy and stressed as you are, your dog is feeling similar emotions because they don’t understand the “upset” in your home. Just the “reorganizing” of the furniture to put up a Christmas Tree can be a stressed for your dog…….things are different.
Every dog is different just like people. What may not phase one dog may completely put another dog over the edge. Please know your dog and thing about these things before putting your dog in a situation that may not be good for them. None of us would do this intentionally but we all get busy over the Holidays so it is my hope that pointing these things out it will be a helpful reminder that we have to be our dogs advocate at all times.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!