The holiday season is all about family and friends, including our four-legged friends. We want our dogs to be part of the festivities, but we also need to make sure they stay safe and stress free. According to many vets, the holidays are one of the most dangerous times of the year for pets. Here are some important pet safety tips to think about this holiday season.
• While I believe it’s OK to feed your dog table scraps as long as you have a healthy diet, there are some foods that can be dangerous. Foods such as grapes and raisins, onions, chocolate, caffeine, certain nuts and seeds, xylitol, and others should be avoided. If you’re uncertain, don’t give it to your dog.
• Be careful about garbage. For example, make sure your dog can’t get to the turkey carcass. Unfortunately, I know a dog who did and didn’t survive.
• Keep your dog away from aluminum foil, which, when ingested can cut your dog’s intestines, causing internal bleeding.
• Watch your dog around the Christmas tree decorations. Many dogs are naturally curious, and sniffing around the tree can be dangerous.
• Keep presents out of reach, especially any food presents.
• Keep your dog away from holiday plants. Many of these are poisonous.
• Supervise dogs and children playing together. The stress to the dog could be too much and the dog may bite.
• Try to remain calm yourself (your dog can sense your stress) and keep to your dog’s regular routine (especially exercise) as much as possible. This will reduce your dog’s stress.
• Put your dog someplace safe and stress free during holiday parties and large family gatherings. Often dogs are stressed when there are too many people around. Then there’s the issue of doors or fence gates accidently being left open, giving your dog the opportunity to run off.
• Make sure your dogs have proper identification in the event they do get out.
While common sense will prevent most accidents, observing these precautions will help you and your family (including your pets) have a safe and enjoyable holiday season!
Sherri Cappabianca, an expert in the field of canine health and fitness, is the author of two books on canine health, and the co-owner of Rocky’s Retreat Canine Health & Fitness Center, and Barking Dog Fitness, a Gym for Dogs, both located in Orlando. For more information, visit rockysretreat.com or barkingdogfitness.com.