“If you want to be happy in a million ways, for the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home.”
My dog has seemed extra needy lately, and my guess is that she is reacting to the already elevated level of craziness that seems to come with the holiday season that is upon us. As she retrieved the dust cloth I had been using off the counter in an attempt to “help” me spruce up the house for holiday guests, I was reminded of the fact that in her mind this month is no different than any other! She still expects the same level of attention, love, and exercise that she gets the rest of the 11 months of the year. And I intend to give it to her!
So, let’s talk about not just surviving the holidays with your dog, let’s talk thriving through the holidays with your dog! Prepare your home so that even though there may be celebrating and decorating going on, it is still a safe space for your beloved pet to be himself.
1. Beware the Holiday Treats
Do you have a counter surfer in your house? Yeah, me too. Some dogs just never seem to outgrow their curiosity when it comes to food on the counter. Candy canes, nuts, and fatty foods are just a few of the foods that may grace your table this holiday season. These poisonous foods can cause anything from vomiting and diarrhea to something more serious like pancreatitis and liver failure. This is not something you want to deal with over the holidays! Cover plates of food if left unattended, and place treats in the middle of a counter or table out of reach of your dog’s curious nose. Consider adding some pet-friendly holiday treats to your cooking list this year.
2. Decorate with Your Dog in Mind
It’s probably wise to skip the traditional holiday plants like poinsettias and mistletoe. While beautiful, these plants pose serious health complications to your dog if ingested. Poinsettias are not poisonous but can cause gastrointestinal discomfort if eaten. Mistletoe, on the other hand, is toxic to dogs, causing cardiovascular and neurological issues if ingested in large quantities.
3. Puppy-Proof Your Tree
Even if your dog is not a puppy (aren’t all dogs puppies forever?), it is wise to decorate your tree as if your dog is as curious as one. We learned this one the hard way when our mischievous “puppy” ate a carefully crafted cinnamon ornament our son had made at preschool, ribbon and all. Don’t tempt your dog. Hang scented and fragile ornaments out of your dog’s reach. Some antique ornaments may contain lead, and glass ornaments can cause stomach lacerations if ingested. Also, make sure your dog does not drink the tree water. It can be a breeding ground for bacteria and lead to diarrhea and vomiting. Make sure your dog has plenty of water in his bowl.
4. Involve Your Pooch in the Festivities
There are tons of ways to make sure you involve your dog in the holiday season. Include your dog in the family photo, let him “unwrap” his presents, make holiday dog bones, and let him tag along on shopping trips where dogs are welcome. The more you can involve your dog in the spirit of the season, the less likely he’ll be to act out for attention.
5. Stick to Your Routine
As much as humanly possible, don't deviate from your normal routine. Dogs are creatures of habit and when their routines are interrupted, they become all out of sorts. Just ask my dog what happens when her dad doesn’t have time for her five-mile walk each day! As much as you can, keep to your regular schedule over the holidays. This will be good for both you and your dog!
Let PetPartners Keep Your Holidays Merry
If you stick to these five guidelines, you’ll be golden this holiday season! Of course, accidents do happen. If your six-year-old abandons his half-eaten pie at the table or your grandma leaves her pillbox dangerously close to the edge of the counter, a PetPartners pet insurance plan could have you covered. It’s no fun to be hit with extra expenses at the emergency vet, so be prepared with our accident and illness coverage. When you take charge of your pet’s health, you can rest easy this holiday season, knowing you’re covered in the event of an accident. Get a quote today!