‘Tis the season for spending time with family and friends, making delicious foods, decorating, and shopping!
To help keep the season bright, here’s 10 tips to be sure your dogs enjoy the season as much as you do!
1. Jingle! Jingle! Jingle!
With all the busyness of the season, putting a bell or a jingle collar on your dog is not only a festive thing to do for the holidays, it’s also a great way to hear where s/he is!
2. Down Through the Chimney
No matter the egress or ingress to your home, when the holidays are near, doors to our homes are opened more frequently to greet our guests. To ensure the safety of pets, keep them tucked behind gates, in their crates, or in a room that is closed off from foot traffic until everyone is settled in and your dogs can once again safely roam the house.
3. Holiday Cookies
Ah, the aroma of freshly baked cookies sure fills hearts with joy! But not all human cookies and ingredients are safe for dogs. Be sure to keep them away from the baking process and finished treats. Instead, whip up a batch of dog-friendly cookies that they can enjoy!
4. Shop to You Drop?
The holiday season may encourage people to shop like marathon pros, but it’s not always fun or safe for dogs. If your dog typically accompanies you on outings, consider leaving him/her home where it’s quiet and far away from the possibility of escape, theft, and the overall noisy hustle and bustle of crowds that could bring on more fright than bright for a pup.
5. Gift Tags and Dog Tags
While folks are being busy little elves filling out gift tags, don’t forget to keep the dog’s ID and microchip tags up-to-date! Check their collars to see that the tags are there and intact, and that the info is current, just in case your dog slips out the door. Also check that your vet and microchip company has your current information on file.
6. Deck the Halls!
While decorating your halls and trees with shiny tinsel, ribbon, and ornaments can sure look like a lot of fun to your dog, be sure to keep decorations out of their reach as it can pose a very dangerous hazard if ingested. Instead, while the decorating is in high gear, keep your dogs busy and entertained safely with a chew toy or healthy treat all of their own in another room!
Celebrating the holiday season can sometimes include beverages that can be very toxic for pets. Please be sure glasses, bottles, cans, and cups are kept away from a dog’s reach (and tongue). Watch out for spills, and always keep your veterinarian, emergency clinic, and Pet Poison Control numbers posted near your landline phone in plain sight and in your cellphone’s contact list.
8. Mistletoe and Holly (and Poinsettias)
Holiday plants are beautiful and certainly add to the ambience of the season. However, many are toxic to pets. To check the full list of toxic and non-toxic plants, visit the ASPCA website at http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants. Safer option? Ditch the real thing and go faux!
9. Fireplace Glow
Be sure to keep your dog safely away from the flame and heat of a fireplace (even non-wood burning ones) to ensure they do not get burned or overheated. While they may enjoy the warmth and comfort of snoozing in front of a fire, some dogs with certain health conditions, such as epilepsy, heat can be a trigger to a seizure. Check with your vet to see if your dog’s health can tolerate a snooze in the warm glow!
10. Let it Snow!
Dogs love playing in the fresh snow! When clearing your walkways, be sure to use pet-friendly snow melt and always clean their paws afterward of snow, ice, and leftover snow melt so they can stay healthy, merry, and bright!
This season, while you are planning your celebrations, making your lists and checking them twice, be sure to take a few extra minutes to give your home a quick pet safety check. With a little preventative planning, everyone in the family, including your beloved canine companions, can have a very holly, jolly holiday!
Dorothy Wills-Raftery is an award-winning photojournalist and author of EPIc Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy; the FiveSibes™ Tales children’s books What’s Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy and Getting Healthy With Harley: Learning About Health & Fitness; and Buddy, the Christmas Husky~Based On A True Holiday Miracle books (ArcticHouse Publishing), as well as the international FiveSibes blog, based on the lives of her five Siberian Huskies. Her work has also appeared in American Pet Magazine, Ruff Drafts, The Sled Dogger, and Hudson Valley Paw Print Magazine. Dorothy is the writer and host of “The Sibe Vibe” Dog Works Radio show.” Named “Best Author” in 2015 & 2016 by Hudson Valley Magazine and all four books named “Best in Print” by American Pet Magazine, Dorothy is a 5-time Dog Writers of America Association “Excellence” nominee, winning the prestigious Maxwell Medallion in 2016 for her writing. An official International Purple Day® for Epilepsy Ambassador since 2012 and a volunteer case manager for The Wally Foundation-Canine Epilepsy, Dorothy is the creator of the FiveSibes #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness campaign inspired by her own epileptic Husky, Gibson. In addition to her Siberian Huskies, Dorothy shares her home with her husband, daughter, son-in-law, and new grandson. You can follow Dorothy and her FiveSibes on Facebook at FiveSibes: Siberian Husky K9 News & Reviews, on Google + , Twitter, and Instagram (@FiveSibesMom).