Keeping Your Dog Safe During the Holidays

Please note, I received compensation in exchange for this blog post.- Tracey Hagan, Pawsitive Purpose Dog Training & Behavior

The holidays are a wonderful time when we look forward to having get togethers with friends, co-workers and family. Life can get a little chaotic during this time of year, with all the shopping, planning, cooking, present wrapping and the parties we attend. With all the things we have to keep our attention on during this time, sometimes we aren’t as great at supervising our dogs like we do at other, less busy, times of the year.

But the holidays are the most important times to pay attention to our dogs. We need to make sure they are not getting into things that could be dangerous for them that are very popular during the holidays. Or may be bothersome if they get excited, fearful, or curious of things that happen during the holidays.

I will start with the extra time we spend away from home doing shopping and other errands that leaves our dogs at home alone longer than normal. This can cause some distress for them, especially if you are typically home more often. They can also start to become bored with no one home to interact with or play with. This boredom can turn into some destructive behaviors such as chewing up toys, pillows, furniture, or other things while you are gone.

Our time away from home may also cut into our dog’s exercise time. This can cause your dog to have some pent up energy that may come out as annoying or bothersome behaviors such as chewing, barking, “zoomies”, being more mouthy, and continuously trying to interact with you.

We need to make sure at this time of year that we are being careful to not leave items lying out that can be dangerous for our dogs. We are busy wrapping presents, bringing in shopping bags, cooking, and decorating. So we may not be as mindful of what our dogs are doing and what are they getting into.

Some things to be careful with is ribbons, bows, tape and scissors while wrapping, poinsettias, holly, lilies, mistletoe, lit candles and tinsel when decorating and chocolate, any candy sweetened with xylitol, fatty foods , spicy foods, cooked bones, alcohol, grapes and raisins, onions, shallots or chives, salty foods while cooking.

Your Christmas tree can be very interesting to pets also. Cats love to climb in them and play with ornaments. So you may need to anchor your tree so it doesn’t tip over. Dogs may also like to play with ornaments so be careful not to put things like popcorn strings on your tree for decoration as the dogs and cats may go for it.

The most important thing to remember is to have a safe place for your pets to retreat to if they get overwhelmed. It should be a quiet space where no one else is allowed (such as children) and make sure they have fresh water and some puzzle toys or chew toys available for them.

Tracey Hagan, is a certified dog trainer at Pawsitive Purpose Dog Training & Behavior. To see her full list of credentials, check out more here.