For most dog owners, holidays are all about family, friends, fun and food – and it’s all too easy to forget about holiday safety for your dog. We all want our dogs to be part of the holiday celebrations, but there are some important guidelines to keeping your dog safe on holidays. An unplanned visit to the veterinary clinic or hospital is a real downer during the holidays.
First things first: No table scraps! Just because we like to indulge (or overindulge) in the holiday feasts does not mean it’s good for our dogs. Rich, fatty foods can cause havoc with your dog’s stomach and some can be toxic and kill an animal. It is especially important to keep your dog away from these dangerous foods:
Foods high in fat, sodium and/or sugar;
Grapes and Raisins;
Chocolate of any kind;
Onions, which can cause anemia (as can high levels of garlic);
Bones (especially cooked bones and all poultry bones);
Alcoholic beverages (getting a dog drunk may seem hilarious until you sober up and realize you’ve come close to killing your pet).
There are some human foods that are okay for dogs, so if you want to give your dog a special treat, there are some options. Try feeding your dog a small piece of cooked turkey or chicken without the skin or bones. You can also try feeding your dog sliced raw apples in small amounts. These are healthy for dogs.
Most dogs are curious by nature and you’ll probably find them sniffing or chewing on Christmas tree decorations or even the electrical cords used to light up your tree. Hide all electrical extension cords under tree skirts or hang them out of the reach of your dog. Be sure your dog does not drink from the stand that holds your Christmas tree – the water can make your dog very sick.
Don’t let your dog get lost in the hustle and bustle if you have guests for holiday meals. Holiday parties and gatherings usually result in lots of chaos. This might be fun for you and your guests, but not for your dog. Having a lot of people in your home can result in injury or undue stress for your dog. A large crowd is not the place for most dogs, so consider keeping your dog in a quiet room.
If your dog is comfortable around groups of people, just make sure you establish ground rules with your guests: don’t feed the dog and keep the doors closed! Many pets get loose and run off during the holiday season. Though your dog should always wear a collar with current identification, this is particularly important during the holiday season. Unfortunately, many dogs run off and become lost during the holidays and end up enduring an unpleasant experience in a shelter until you reclaim it. The holidays also account for a significant number of pets running away and never being found again.
The holidays are wonderful, happy times of the year. Be sure yours are joyful remembrances and not one of tragedy due to a lost or seriously ill pet.
Be safe and have fun. Happy Holidays!