How to Give Your Dog a Merry and Very Healthy Holiday

Make your dog’s holiday a healthy and happy one with these seasonally smart tips.

Decking the Halls

Keep your pooch safe by placing decorations out of reach. Consider using only unbreakable decorations that won’t splinter or shatter if chewed and that are too big to be swallowed. Be aware that the small metal hooks used to hang decorations can be swallowed, too. That goes for tinsel: the shiny strands are a chocking hazard and can cause serious intestinal distress if ingested. Keep holiday light strands out of harm’s way as well.

The Christmas Tree Cover Up

Water that keeps a Christmas tree fresh can be a hidden danger. Some tree saps are toxic, as are the chemicals often used to make trees last. Not to mention the bacteria that can grow in standing water. Keep dogs out of harm’s way by covering the base with a tree skirt that’s not easily removed by digging paws.

All the Trimmings.

Gift wrap strewn around the floor poses quite a temptation for rambunctious dogs, so clean up right after unwrapping—especially ribbons, Styrofoam and packing peanuts, as they can be a danger if swallowed.

Party Pooches

A houseful of people can be stressful to dogs not used to company. An energetic dog will benefit from long walks or vigorous playtimes before guests arrive; the exercise can be a de-stresser and your dog will more likely sleep through the main event. People entering and exiting your home also means open doors and opportunities for escape. Make sure your pooch has up-to-date ID tags and is microchipped, just in case. Put your dog’s bed and/or crate in a quiet space, out of the way of foot traffic. You may need to keep your dog in a separate room altogether until guests are gone, especially if there are young visitors and your pet is not used to or uncomfortable around children.

Stick to the Usual Routine

Your schedule may be topsy-turvy, but your dog’s shouldn’t be. As much as possible, stick to regular walks and meal times, which will provide a sense of stability and help counteract holiday stress. And make sure to squeeze in extra time together, without the extended family, so your dog doesn’t feel left out of the holiday fun.