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The holidays are upon us, and as I do each year, I’d like to take a few moments to remind pet owners to stay alert for seasonal hazards.

Nothing can ruin a holiday and make it a painful memory for years to come like an accident that injures or takes the life of a precious pet.

Ally Oop Oop patiently awaits for Santas arrival

Ally Oop Oop patiently awaits for Santas arrival

A quick review of the following list can avert disaster for your dog or cat, so I encourage everyone reading here today to take this brief ‘refresher course’ in keeping your pet safe throughout the holiday season.

10 Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe During the Hectic Holiday Season

  1. Secure your Christmas tree by screwing a hook into the wall or ceiling and running string or fishing line around the tree trunk and fastened to the hook.

    This will anchor your tree and prevent it from being tipped or pulled over by a curious cat or a rambunctious dog.

    It will also keep water at the base of the tree from spilling. Stagnant tree water can harbor bacteria and isn’t something your pet should be drinking, so make sure it isn’t easily accessible.

  2. Place electrical cords, wires and batteries out of your pet’s reach to prevent a potentially deadly electrical shock or burns from a punctured battery.
  3. Especially if you are owned by a cat, skip the tinsel. It’s a real temptation for kitties because it’s sparkly and fun to bat around. But ingestion of tinsel can obstruct your pet’s GI tract and bring on vomiting. Vomiting causes dehydration. And if the situation is dire, surgery could be required to remove the tangle of tinsel inside your pet and repair any damage.

    Also forego breakable tree ornaments. Glass shards can injure pet paws, mouths, and can be very dangerous if swallowed.

  4. Candles are very popular holiday décor, but make sure to never leave lighted candles unattended. Use appropriate holders that prevent candles from being knocked over by curious pets. Take care when using scented candles, especially the food-scented variety, that the smell doesn’t encourage your dog or cat to sample the goods. Candle wax isn’t species-appropriate nutrition for your pet!
  5. Pets and sweets don’t mix, so make sure your dog or cat has zero access to holiday goodies like candy, cookies, chocolate and other sugary foods, including any food that is artificially sweetened.

    And to be on the very safe side, also prevent your pet from counter surfing in the kitchen, sniffing the table at meal time, and nosing around in the garbage. Believe it or not, there’s a long list of people foods that are toxic to pets, so don’t even chance it.

  6. Beverages should also be kept out of your pet’s reach. Beer, wine and liquor can make your dog or cat quite ill, and can even be life threatening.
  7. It’s also a good idea to keep pets separated from tipsy guests. So if the party is getting lively, it’s your cue to tuck your four-legged family member away in a safe, quiet location of the house.
  8. Provide your pet with a quiet place to retreat during holiday festivities. Dogs and especially cats get overwhelmed and over-stimulated just like kids do. Make sure your companion has her own out-of-the-way spot stocked with fresh water, a few treats and toys, and comfy bedding to snuggle up in.

    New Year’s celebrations can be a special problem for pets, so keep yours a safe distance from confetti, streamers, noise makers and other dangers.

  9. Resist the irresistible — those cute and colorful pet toys and stocking stuffers that show up on store displays this time of year. No matter how adorable that stuffed dog toy is, chances are some part of it will wind up inside your pooch. Stick with safe, healthy dog gifts like all-natural dental bones, yummy high-protein treats, and stimulating puzzle toys.

    If there’s a cat on your Christmas gift list, go for toys that stimulate his hunting instincts or how about a new scratching surface? You can also consider a toy that allows you to interact with him and gives him some exercise at the same time, like a laser beam toy or a feather teaser like Da Bird.

  10. Did you know many holiday plants and flowers are highly toxic for dogs and cats? Holly is one. So are many varieties of the lily. Mistletoe is a no-no, as are poinsettias. Take a pass on live holiday plants and opt for silk or plastic greenery instead.

In addition to these tips, it’s also very important for your pet’s health and stress level to maintain her normal daily routine during the holidays.

Merry Christmas from WWC

Merry Christmas from WWC

 

 

Another excellent article we posted last year is Chaos; Its the Holidays!  and another article about puppies as gifts Holiday Shoppers Should Not Give Puppies As Gifts

Merry Christmas From Wendt Worth Corgis

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Becker is the resident proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian of HealthyPets.Mercola.com. You can learn holistic ways of preventing illness in your pets by subscribing to MercolaHealthyPets.com, an online resource for animal lovers. For more pet care tips, subscribe for FREE to Mercola Healthy Pet Newsletter.
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The holiday season is upon us. Our lives are busy with decorating, shopping and visitors.

It is fun, but stressful, especially for our dogs. Think about it. Dogs love a routine. The holidays get us crazy. We put trees in our living rooms and blinking light on our houses. The neighborhood yards sprout fat men in red suits, reindeer and blow up snowmen. It is no wonder their behavior becomes erratic. So does ours.

Wendt Worth Corgis enjoying the Season

Wendt Worth Corgis enjoying the Season

This is the time of year when people become bothered by their pet’s behavior. If you have not taken the time to train your dog, it is painfully obvious. Friends and family are jumped on and hounded for attention. A gift certificate for dog training is in order for you.

But what about dogs that are usually well behaved? Now their lives are disrupted and they are confused. They go out to go potty and Santa is waving. They go for a walk and reindeer are blinking. These dogs need to be reassured that life as they know it will resume after Christmas.

Try to keep your routine as normal as possible. Take Spot for his walk. Let him look at the decorations. If it is safe, let him come up for a closer look. Praise him for being brave and carry on. If Spot is too fearful, use a happy voice and keep on moving. Do not let him get into a tizzy. Bill Campbell calls this the jolly routine. Jolly Spot up, tell him he is a silly pup and merrily stroll along. If it is not a big deal to you, it will not be a big deal to your dog.

If you have many visitors, consider your dog’s personality. Some dogs love company and wish they would never leave. Some dogs get overwhelmed. If your dog is in the second category, maybe you should put him in his crate as guests arrive. Bring him out a bit later, on lead, after things have calmed down. Allow some visiting. If Spot seems relaxed, keep him out longer. If he is stressed, back to the crate with a lovely chew reward. It is not punishment to crate him. It is relief and safety.

Some people like to take their dogs with them for holiday fun. Again, judge your pets’ personality. If you live alone and rarely have visitors, chances are Spot will not enjoy the buffet dinner with thirty guests, excited children and all of the chaos that goes with it. Maybe boarding your dog is a better solution. Then you can enjoy your family and friends. I think that is what the holiday season is about.

Try to look at the holidays from a dog point of view. Anticipate worrisome situations. Keep your dog safe and happy. Keep your routine as normal as possible. And fill his doggie life with love!

Cissy Sumner, CPDT-KA is Vero’s first Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed. If you have a question about training or behavior, email Cissy at www.bestbehaviordogtraining.org. Please include your hometown.

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