“E” Litter Pup Elmo getting ready for the holidays!

‘Tis the season for parties and visitors and snow and gifts and much, much more! It is such an exciting and busy time of year, but it can also bring anxiety for our favorite pups (and let’s face it, it can be stressful for us humans as well.) Here are a few 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 more heightened energy than normal, 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 guest 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, too.

3. 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 dog’s paws and tummy when they come 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 short between the toes and pads will help, and of course, keep those nails short too!

4. Holidays are exhausting! Provide the pup with a quiet area so that everyone can have a break when needed.

5. Exercise is good for everyone. 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.

For more information on Canine Companions for Independence, visit www.cci.org.

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