Updated: Jan 19
Holiday season has officially begun! Halloween is in the rear view window (barely) and the winter holidays are on the horizon. Regardless of what you celebrate, the months of November, December, and January tend to be packed full of gatherings, festivities and general flurries of activities. On top of that....decorations! Not only can the holiday season be stressful for us, it can be stressful and present safety hazards for our dogs.
Dogs thrive on structure. For most of us, the holiday season is very different from our normal routines. Try to keep things as normal for your dog as possible. If you are traveling and taking them with you, be sure to bring items that will help them feel more at home in a strange location. If you are having guests, you may want to be proactive and develop a routine for your dog that involves being away from the hustle and bustle and chilling out in a quiet area of the home. Be sure to provide things to keep them occupied.
Many of us pull out decorations during the holidays and spruce up our homes. For some dogs, these new and strange things in the house and yard may be scary! For others, they may be a great toy or snack! Regardless of which camp your dog is in, decorations, plants, and foods we have around during this time can be a safety hazard. You may want to have a poison hotline number handy, just in case your pup gets hold of something that they shouldn't. It is also a good idea to know where your nearest open emergency veterinarian is located.
Did you know that Christmas Tree water is toxic to your pets? If you have a live tree, be sure to have a tight-fitting skirt covering the water it sits in! Pine needles, ornaments, tinsel, lights...all potentially "yummy" or fun things that could harm your dog. Be sure you are monitoring them when these things are around.
Finally, look for signs your dog is feeling stressed. If your dog's behavior changes, especially if the new behaviors include hiding, pacing, panting, licking their lips, yawning, averting their eyes, soiling in the house, trembling, changes in appetite, whining, or aggression, they may be finding the whole situation overwhelming. If you don't have a safe and quiet place they can ride things out in, you may want to rethink having the holiday party at your home.
Enjoy the holiday season and keep your pups safe and happy!