It’s the ‘most wonderful time of the year’. The Holiday season is upon us, and that means shopping, decorating, cooking and parties! There doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day, so when trying to balance a hectic schedule, remember that Fido fares better with predictability and routine, instead of chaos.
Whenever possible, try to keep your dog’s routine the same. Feed him or her at the normal times, and when practical, try to ramp up your pet’s exercise level a bit. Tired doggos are less stressed doggos.
To help maintain your sanity during the next few weeks, check out these sensible tips for navigating the holidays with your fur pals:
1. Christmas Trees
One decision you might be making this year is whether to use a real tree or an artificial one. Personally, I like ‘real’ Christmas trees. Here are a few things I’ve learned from experience about dogs and Christmas trees.
For Real AND Artificial Trees:
- If possible, securing the top of the tree to something sturdy using a fishing line tends to minimize the risk of falling over.
- Dogs tend to favor certain windows in the house, so if possible, choose one for your tree that isn’t Spike’s fav.
- Keep your electrical cords off limits by running them through a PVC pipe.
- Keep food items and tinsel off the tree.
- For glass or fragile ornaments, hang these high and out of your pup’s reach.
- Until she can be fully trusted, monitor your dog’s activities around the tree.
For Real Trees:
- Use plain old tap water for your tree – there is little evidence to support the theory that preservatives prolong tree life.
- Cover your tree water bowl with tin foil.
- Regularly vacuum the floor around your tree to keep the dropped pine needles away from your fur pals – they can get stuck in their noses or paws.
2. Poisonous Plants
Seasonal plants like Holly and Mistletoe are toxic for dogs. Check with your vet to see what plants in your area to avoid.
If you suspect your dog has ingested something poisonous, or if observe any changes in your pet’s behavior, (like pacing more than normal, or being more listless than normal), contact your vet immediately.
3. Runaway Dogs
Remember to keep tabs on your dog’s activity near doors in case he gets curious or excited and tries to bolt. Be sure he’s wearing a collar with tag ID at all times.
If Sparky does happen to get away, be cautious when running after him. A whole gang of frantic people racing after an excited doggo could cause him to run even farther. One technique that often works is to call to him after you’ve kneeled on the ground and sat back on your heels. This body language is perceived as non-intimidating and welcoming by your dog.
4. Signs of Stress
Be sure to look for signs that your fur pal might be stressed. You can prevent many unfortunate incidents by being alert and recognizing signs of anxiety.
5. Christmas Gifts
Who doesn’t love to give presents ? They look wonderful great underneath the tree, but it can be stressful if your dog unwraps them.
Here’s a great opportunity to work on obedience skills with ‘leave it’ with the presents. Even the best trained dogs are vulnerable to temptation, so be careful of what’s inside the wrapped packages under your tree. You certainly don’t want Fido sampling the Belgian chocolates!
Try to ensure the boxes under that wrapping paper are sturdy. And try to minimize the use of gift bags. If you must, put them out of reach.
From More Waggin’ Less Barkin’ we wish you and your furry besties a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! If you liked this article, please be sure give it a “Thumbs Up” and “Share” it with your friends on social media!
You might also enjoy 10 Reasons Doggos Love Christmas