The holidays are happening and you know what that means? Family and friends, parties and play, gifts and goodies and much, much more! This is a wonderful and exciting time of year, but we all know it can sometimes bring anxiety for our favorite pups. Take some time to read our top six tips to help keep your pet happy, relaxed and safe this year.
1. Tire your pup out before visiting or receiving holiday guests. Keep in mind that holiday visits are not typical visits. They may involve heightened energy, since often we haven’t seen these people in a while, and dog people have a tendency to get excited around others’ dogs. A dog is more likely to behave if it’s just had a nice long walk. If they’re not dog people, your guests may be nervous, insecure and unsure; a tired dog can help these people relax.
2. Be aware of dangerous holiday items. The festive poinsettia causes dogs to vomit. Chocolate is a poisonous treat. And tinsel has sent many a dog to the emergency room as it can easily cut up intestines. For a list of dangerous holiday plants, visit www.aspca.org/toxicplants. Don’t allow animals to drink Christmas tree water – it can be harmful as well.
3. Human goodies are no good for your pup. Keep food and other treats away from your dog or puppy as it can cause upset tummies and other issues. Maintain a regular feeding schedule and remind your guests that scraps and “hand outs” should not be given to your pets.
4. Cold weather is hazardous. De-icing products, salt and ice can get into fur and paws causing skin irritation or more serious conditions. Thoroughly wipe your dog’s paws and tummy when he comes in from the cold and snow. Take care to wipe up any spilled antifreeze – dogs love the sweet (but deadly) taste. Better yet, consider using animal-friendly antifreeze products. Balls of ice between a dog’s toes can be painful. For some of the longer coated dogs, trimming the hair between the toes and pads will help, and of course, keep those nails short too.
5. Holidays are exhausting! Provide your pup with a quiet and warm area so everyone can have a break when needed. A large comfortable crate is the perfect place for your pup to rest and feel secure.
6. Exercise is good for all. Take your pup out for a stroll around the block. Enjoy your neighbors’ holiday lighting, take in the fresh air and burn off some of those holiday calories! It’s a win/win.
Wishing everyone a very happy and safe holiday season. Thank you for your support and dedication to our mission.
For more information on Canine Companions for Independence, visit www.cci.org.