Christmas is a time of joy, for our Savior came on this special day. And it’s almost here! Are you excited? You are probably very busy shopping and gift wrapping. But what about your dog? Holidays can be very stressful for animals, and special care must be given to your pet so he can have a safe and happy Christmas.
You may not realize it, but your dog’s health and safety are at risk during Christmas.
First of all, don’t feed your dog any Christmas cookies, candy, or leftover food. It will encourage begging, and anything other than your dog’s normal diet will result in stomach pains and maybe even vomiting. Also, your dog could develop life-threatening pancreatitis. Pancreatitis inflames the pancreas and causes terrible pain and nausea for your pet. So please resist, and, if you have company over, kindly explain to them that your dog cannot have any human food. Be sure to set out a jar of your dog’s biscuits so your guests can feed him those!
Caution! Never feed your dog any meat bones! If you’re having a turkey or some meat this Christmas, you will probably be tempted to give your dog one of those juicy bones. But resist! That juicy bone could result in an emergency trip to the vet or even death. Bones from turkeys and any other meat easily break into small pieces. These can become quickly lodged in your dog’s throat, causing him to choke. Please never put your dog at such a risk! Feed him a safe dog biscuit instead.
I’m sure you’ve decorated your house for this holiday. Christmas trees, lights, wreaths, and many other pretty decorations make your house look very festive. However, your dog’s health will be at risk with all of these pretty decorations. Always put them somewhere high so your dog can’t reach them. Also, if your dog loves to sniff and poke his nose everywhere, put a little gate around your Christmas tree. This way, he won’t damage or upset it, causing it to fall on him. Always make sure that all wires are out of your dog’s reach. Dogs love to chew!
Keep the presents around the tree but away from your dog. Dogs are curious, and we love to play the game “find what’s inside the box.” You can either put a small gate around the tree and presents or put all presents up on a table beside the tree. Please be extra cautious of foil wrappers with food presents. When swallowed, foil acts like a knife, tearing sharply on the inside.
Make sure you never bring toxic plants into the house. Mistletoe, poinsettias, and holly are poison for dogs. Call your veterinarian immediately if your dog tangles with any of these.
Last of all, just in case, know your veterinarian’s emergency phone number. Write it down and keep it on the fridge for easy access if an emergency should occur.
How to Avoid Stress
Any major holiday can be very stressing for your pet. To help avoid stress, try to keep on your dog’s normal schedule so he won’t become confused or upset. Try to give him his food, walks, and playtime at the same time as always.
Dogs can become moody on Christmas, so make sure to give your dog personal space. If your guests include small children, ask them not to crowd your dog and, if this happens, put your dog in his cage or a room with some toys. If small children irritate him, your dog might lash out and bite them, as he feels trapped and panicky. Even the sweetest of dogs can be pushed too far!
Your dog will need to stay somewhere while you’re gone. It can either be with a friend or at a doggy day care. If you choose to leave your dog at a day care, make sure your dog will get plenty of exercise and there is a clean, safe environment. If your dog has any health issues or doesn’t like other dogs, alert the staff so they can take the best care of your dog.
Even if you’re only going to be away from your dog for a few hours, it can be very stressing for your dog, especially if he’s a puppy or a senior dog. If your dog can’t handle being alone even for a few hours, leave him with a friend or a doggy daycare. Never leave your dog alone for too long!
Have a fun and safe Christmas with your dog!