Decorating the house is a holiday tradition for many families, but the change in scenery can be stressful and even dangerous for dogs. Water in the Christmas tree reservoir and some plants, such as poinsettias, can potentially cause vomiting or diarrhea if they are consumed. Ornaments and tinsel pose a choking hazard, and strings of lights mean exposed wires running through the house, which are dangerous if your dog decides to chew on them. Puppy-proof your house during the holidays, just as you did when you first brought your dog home, keeping an eye out for possible dangers.
Food can be a big part of the holidays and sharing table scraps with your dog might seem harmless. But rich, fatty, or spicy foods might upset your dog’s stomach, particularly if he’s not used to them. Be sparing with the tidbits or forgo them altogether and instead consider making your dog his very own special homemade doggie treats.
Some common holiday foods can be toxic to dogs. Chocolate is a favorite treat for people, but can cause serious problems for your dog, even in small amounts. And fruitcake, a seasonal delicacy, may contain dried fruits like raisins. Raisins and grapes can cause serious damage to your dog’s kidneys, even in small doses. Don’t let your dog get into the turkey carcass because cooked bones can easily splinter into dangerous fragments. Keep all food, treats, and edible gifts out of reach of your dog rather than under the tree or on the coffee table. Before the holidays, be sure to brush up on your dog’s “Leave It” cue.
Do your best to minimize your dog’s stress and stick to his usual routine as much as possible. Keeping him mentally and physically exercised will help keep him calm and ensure that his needs continue to be met. For serious distress, speak to your veterinarian. Calming supplements or a dog-appeasing pheromone diffuser might also help lower your dog’s anxiety. If you can keep your dog safe and stress-free, he will be able to enjoy the holiday season as much as you do!