It might seem early to be thinking about the holiday season, but we’re here to remind you that the fall and winter holiday season is looming. With Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, and so many other holidays – you’re going to be busy.
This busy holiday time means you need to do some planning, including how you’ll keep your dog safe during the holiday season. Things like Halloween treats and packaging, tinsel, party food on low tables, and holiday visitors can all be hazards for your dog.
Daily life can get crazy during holiday season and we want you to be confident that your dog is safe, cared for, and is still getting his daily walks and exercise. Remember that even on the busiest of days, it’s important that your dog gets out for a walk and run in the park – his joint health and mental health depend on this.
Keep reading for our top tips on how to keep your dog safe during the holiday season. If you have tips on how you keep your dog safe from holiday hazards and temptations, share them with us on the Leaps and Bounds Facebook community page.
Dogs and Holiday Visitors
It’s important to remember that not every dog wants to meet new people and not every visitor to your home wants to meet a new dog. Think long and hard about your dog’s temperament when getting ready for the holiday season.
If you have a shy, nervous, aggressive, reactive, or senior dog – it is a good idea to make sure your dog has a safe quiet and comfortable place in your home during holiday festivities. Give your dog the space, security, and confidence that he needs to reinforce that he is safe during your Christmas party or as trick-or-treaters ring the doorbell all night.
Even if your dog is friendly and receptive to new people, remember that it’s easy for your dog to be overwhelmed with the constant noise, people coming and going, and changes in routine that come with the holiday season. Pay keen attention to how your dog is responding and make sure your dog is kept comfortable and safe – this means also paying attention to how your visitors treat your dog.
Dogs and Holiday Decorations
Oh, that tinsel, table runner, and scented candle are so tempting for your curious dog. It’s easy to understand how an innocent little sniff or tap of the paw can quickly result in chaos in your home.
While you want to have your home decked out and decorated for the holidays, it’s key that you remember how easy it is for even the most well-behaved dog to get tempted by new smells and decorations.
Keep in mind the following tips when decorating for the holidays:
- Christmas tree: secure your tree and make sure that the tree water is not an accessible temptation for your dog. Do not let your dog drink the tree water, since it can contain fertilizers and bacteria from stagnant water.
- No tinsel: there is something about tinsel that is so tempting for dogs. The easiest solution is to simply avoid tinsel. Know that eating tinsel can cause a serious obstruction in your dog’s digestive tract.
- Candles: if you’re going to use candles, don’t leave them burning unattended and keep them elevated out of your dog’s reach.
- Noisy decorations: the spooky Halloween decorations or the ornaments that play music can be scary for your dog. Try to limit the number of these noisy decorations you have in your home and think about not using them at all.
Dogs and Holiday Food
We can’t stress this enough – your dog should not be eating people food. Yes, your dog is interested in your food, but this doesn’t mean you should give it to him. It’s super important during the holiday season that you remember these key dog and food rules:
- No sweets: chocolate and anything with xylitol in it is very dangerous for your dog. Do not let your dog get close the Halloween candy, the holiday chocolates, or any holiday baking. Remember your dog has a strong sense of smell, so make sure that garbage, compost, or leftovers are not left unattended.
- No alcohol: this should be obvious, but it’s so easy to place your glass of beer or other cocktail on the floor or on a low table. The next thing you know, your dog has had a sniff and a slurp or two. Ask your guests to pay attention to where they’re placing their drink and try to keep your dog in another part of the house when you’ve got guests and alcohol.
- Yes to treats: yes your dog can have some treats at Halloween or during the holidays – just make sure these treats are safe for your dog. Think of your dog’s joint health and remember to keep Leaps & Bounds soft chews around for when your dog needs a treat or reward.
Dogs and Your Holiday Home
Your dog is part of your family and we know that you want him to be part of your holiday festivities. However, it’s important to remember that your dog doesn’t have the same capability as you to communicate.
Pay attention to your dog’s mood and behavior patterns. Remember that your dog likes routine, so interruptions to this routine such as missing walks, shortened playtime, or busy evenings and weekends with parties and guests – can all cause your dog to misbehave, become depressed, and to simply not be his or her best doggy self.