Wednesday, December 19

Holiday Time With Your Dog

Last night I was at the Pussy & Pooch Holiday Mutt Mingle and 5 year anniversary party.  As I watched all the dogs spin around the store, take pictures with Santa and get treats every chance they could, I started thinking how great this is for them.  But usually our holiday parties are not this dog friendly.   Which leads me to what I want to talk about today, making the holidays safe for your pet.

By now you probably already have your tree up if you are going to do one.  There are some important things to remember about the tree, first and foremost, it smells like the wild!  This is going to peak the interest of both dogs and cats, so be sure it is as secure as possible so it is not easily tipped over.  Also, if you know your cat will try to climb in, wrap the tree skirt up the trunk as high as possible.

The decorations on the tree as well as all around the house look a lot like toys to dogs and cats.  Especially cats for the tree decorations, just hanging there waiting to be slapped by a paw.  Try to make sure anything that is at your pet's level are shatter-proof or simply not glass.  Also, keep all of the small figurines and other small decorations or choking hazards up high so there is no chance of your dog getting them.  Your cat has the ability to jump, so be sure to find places they are not likely to go.  If you think your dog or cat has eaten a decoration you believe to be harmful, call your vet or emergency vet ASAP.

Having guests in our house can do the most damage to our pets.  No matter if you are having parties or having family or friends from out of town stay with you, make sure your everyone understands your rules for your pets.  This applies more to dogs that cats.  Many people do not understand how important your dog's diet can be, they may think they are being nice by giving your pooch some table scraps or nibbles from the appetizer tray.  The truth is, besides the obvious that there are certain foods your dog should not or can not eat, this may upset their stomach.

Beyond feeding your dog things they should not have, guests sometimes do not know the basic rules of the house.  So not to confuse your dog, make sure your guests know that you don't allow your dog on the couch or in the bed and they don't know shake, so please stop asking.  Or whatever the rules are.   You want your dog to be happy, and having the rules change suddenly, will not make them happy.

With Christmas around the corner and New Year's too, you may be hosting a large get together.  Make sure you think about your dog and what they are comfortable with.  If they are not good with a lot of people, be sure to create a safe space for them to hang out away from all the people.  If you think it will be crowded and you have a small dog, attach a bell or something that will be noted, you wouldn't want your K-9 friend to be stepped on.

You may be out for the holidays.  So if you won't be home, keep track of the time, your dog still has needs and will need to get out to do their business.  If you can't, hire a dog walker for the day or night.  Or if you are taking your dog to a friend or family member's house, make sure they get along with any other pets in the house and bring a bed, towel or blanket so your dog has their own spot and will feel more comfortable.

These simple tips can make your pets very happy over the holidays.