December overflows with holiday festivities and celebrations. It is not surprising to forget about the safety of your pets. Nothing can be a party spoiler like an emergency visit to the vet’s clinic when your dog falls sick or gets spooked off by unfamiliar sights and sounds.Pets go missing on New Year’s and on the 4th of July than on any other day through the year.
With all the shouting and loud fireworks, it is not unheard of for dogs to get spooked and runoff. Some dogs are scared of large crowds of people and might react aggressively towards your visitors. Fortunately for you and your furry friend, we have put together a couple of tips to make sure your dog stays safe through the winter holiday.
Dog-proof Your Christmas Tree
The recommended height of a Christmas tree for those with young puppies is four feet and should be set on a side table, preferably three feet and covered with a holiday-themed table cloth. You do not want to be protecting your tree from your six months old puppies.
If you own a rambunctious dog, and like putting up tall Christmas trees, make sure to secure the top or the middle of the tree to the wall. You can use mini hooks that secure the tree spectacularly, plus they do not leave marks on your wall.
Choose the area in your house that has the least traffic and set your tree, making sure to secure the decorations safely to avoid any frolicking puppies. It is wise to choose a corner or a location that is next to at least one wall. It provides safety for the presents from your dog.
It is quite frustrating to find out that your dog opened up all the gift boxes and ruined your surprise.
To keep your dog from tripping or biting on your wires, push them deep into the tree branches. Make sure to also hide the plugs behind the Christmas tree or place a barrier your dog cannot cross over the main outlets. If this, however, is not an option, place your main electrical strip high from the ground depending on the size of your dog.
A side table would be an ideal place to keep the main electrical strip away from the floor.
Other Tree Decorations
While you might have successfully puppy-proofed your Christmas tree, you may need to protect your puppy from a few more decorations.
Here are some items that can quickly get dangerous if you’re not careful:
• Easily breakable items such as glass and fragile ornaments: There are plastic ornaments on online stores that have the gloss of glass. That way, you do not have to worry about replacing them every time they are knocked over.
• Keep food far from the tree: The festive season brings with it candy canes, cranberries, popcorn, and many other foods. Instead of putting these close to your tree, you choose fake poinsettias flowers.
• Tinsel is lethal for dogs: Tinsel is a dog’s worst digestive nightmare. This stuff can block the intestines causing your dog unimaginable pain: bundle ribbon, yarn, and string next to tinsel to keep your dog from ingesting it.
• Mistletoes, poinsettias, and holly are toxic to dogs: I would recommend using artificial lookalikes instead of installing real ones high up so your puppy cannot reach.
• If you are going to use candles, keep them a safe distance and height from your pets. I’d recommend using a mantle or any other location that the candle cannot be knocked over easily.
If your dog seemingly can’t leave the tree alone, call him from the tree and reward him every time he stays away from the tree.
It is an excellent way to show him that you are happy when he keeps of your Christmas tree. Supervised tethering works like a charm when you are teaching a dog to ignore an object as colorful as your Christmas tree. The more you show him you are okay with his association with the tree, he will get mischievous when you are not around.
Keep human food as out of reach for your dog as possible. Chemicals and preservatives in our foods are harmful to the dog’s digestive system. Therefore, if you want to get your dog a treat during the festivities, make sure you get the one formulated for dogs.
These common human foods are particularly hazardous for most pets:
• Chocolate is always present in most Christmas gatherings. However, chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats, as well. Although some types of chocolate can be mild than others, your pet’s size and the amount of chocolate he ate could be fatal. It is best to keep all types of chocolate off-limits for pets.
• Sweets and baked goodies should also be kept off your pets. Chewing gum, xylitol, Candy, and baked goodies have an artificial sweetener that leads to liver failure in dogs and is often fatal. Plus, while they might taste sweet to you, they are often too rich for your puppy.
• Turkey or turkey skin, even in small amounts, can cause your dog to have a life-threatening condition known as pancreatitis.
• Table scraps should be kept away from pets. Most foods that are fit for human consumption contain elements such as onions, grapes, and raisins that can fatten the animal beyond normal weight or cause pancreatitis since some are hard to digest.
• Yeast dough is also problematic with most dogs. It causes dangerous bloating and painful gas.
• Alcoholic drinks such as cocktails should be kept out of reach of your dogs in case you intend to have adult beverages in your celebrations. If your dog ingests alcohol, he will become ill and possibly go into a coma and in some instances, death from respiratory difficulty.
If you think your dog has eaten something dangerous, fast action can save the day. If you notice any odd signs in your dog, it’s better to be safe by calling a local emergency veterinary clinic.
Which brings up to our next point.
Plan for the holidays in advance
Before you need to visit a vet’s clinic, make sure you have access to a 24/7 emergency vet service. No one wants anything terrible happening to their dog, but sometimes, they can’t help but get themselves in to trouble. It occurs most often in the festive seasons since dogs, unlike us, do not know their way around some equipment.
Keep the veterinarian’s numbers posted on an easily accessible wall in case of any emergencies. The ASPCA poison control numbers are also essential in case of poison emergencies. Fees may be applicable in the calls.
Hosting parties and handling visitors
Pets can get upset by the presence of visitors as well as the noise and excitement during the festivities.
While some dogs may not be shy around new people, they could get spooked by the racket that, at times, accompany the holiday season. Here are some tips to reduce your pet’s emotional stress and protect your guests from possible injury by angry pets:
• There should be a quiet and comfortable place inside the house that the dog can retreat to in case he is annoyed with the noise. Make sure your pet has its room or a kennel away from the commotion. The room should be complete with water and a snuggling area away from the hullaballoo.
• Keep the meds out of your pet’s reach, make sure that your every medication is locked away in a cabinet, and be sure to ask your visitors to keep their medications packed and zipped up too.
• House rules: Inform your visitors ahead of time that you have a pet or if they can bring pets to your house. Dogs can be particularly aggressive around strange pets. Guests with allergies should also be notified ahead of time, especially exotic pets, so that they can take the required precautions to protect themselves when coming to your home.
• Pets that get aggressive or nervous in the presence of strangers should be kept in a crate with their favorite toy or in a different room. Make sure to keep a close eye on these pets, especially when it is time for your guests to leave. You do not want to be rushing your guests to an emergency unit with dog bites.
• Tags and identification microchips can help you track your pet if he cannot be found in the holiday racket. The best way for identification is an updated microchip that can help you track down your pet in a jiffy. If you haven’t already taken your dog for the simple procedure, you should probably speak to your vet about the benefits it offers you and your dog.
• Clear the left-over food from counters, tables, and serving areas when you are through with your meals and make sure your pets cannot reach the left-overs. A leftover turkey or chicken or many other dangerous foods lying around on your carving table could spell disaster for your pets. Dispose of the carcasses and anything that was used to tie or wrap the meat in a tightly secured trash bag and place it in a closed trash container outside your hose.
• Trash can also never be left behind for your pets to scavenge for eatables in your absence. Particularly this festive season, do not let your dog go sniffing inside the trash. Most decorative and packaging items pose a digestive danger for your pets, especially sparkly ribbons and zip tie packages.
If you love traveling during the holidays, as I do, you might choose to take your pet with you. Below are some precautions to take whenever you are traveling. You also need to set up some measures if you are not going to take them with you.
• A health certificate from your pet’s veterinarian is required by interstate and international level regulations even if you are traveling by car. Research the requirements in the state that you intend to be spending your winter holidays or pass through and schedule an appointment with your veterinarian and acquire the required certifications within the stipulated time frame. Even Santa has to get certificates for his reindeer I his annual flight around the globe.
• You should make sure to restrain dogs if you intend to travel with them in your vehicle. They should never be left in the car alone. Use a proper restraint to secure your pet, preferably a secure harness or a carrier safely set in a location clear of airbags. It is dangerous to carry your pet in the bed of your truck.
• If you are flying and considering bringing the pet with you in the flight, talk to your veterinarian first. Short-nosed dogs and other pets can be put at risk by flying with them. Your veterinarian will advise you on the safety of bringing your pet aboard a flight.
• If you are going to travel together, pack enough for the dog and yourself as well. In addition to your pet’s food, water, and medication, bring some copies of their medical records, first aid supplies, and identification information, among other items. Make sure your dog is as comfortable as you are on the journey. They can quickly get exhausted when locked in a tiny cage for too long.
• If your dog is coming aboard as you travel, make sure you find out from your veterinarian how best to protect them from canine flu or any other contagious diseases. Make sure you update your pets with vaccines against prevalent diseases in the area you are visiting.
• When leaving the house it is advisable to unplug all decorations. This is particularly essential if you are leaving your pets behind. Dogs, cats, and other pets are tempted to chew on cords and tag on bright objects with their claws. Also, make sure to take out all the trash and place it in an area the pet cannot access, especially if there are any food scraps in the bags.