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MJ's Animal Blog

Monday, December 3, 2018

5 Dog Safety Tips For The Holidays

Photo credit: pixabay

You’re making a list and checking it twice. With festivities right around the bend, here are 5 things to put on your holiday dog safety list.

1. Holiday Food Safety Tips

Getting an extra special dog treat or sharing some of your meal with your dog can be especially tempting during the holidays. Some people foods are especially hazardous for pets, according to the American Veterinarian Medical Association. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, a central nervous system stimulant that lead to seizures, excessive urination, and heart damage. Although the type of chocolate, the size of your dog, and the amount consumed affects each dog uniquely, veterinarians consider all chocolate off limits for pets. Other sweets and baked goods can affect the blood sugar of dogs whether it contains regular cane sugar or artificial sweeteners. The sweetener, xylitol, has been linked to liver failure and death in dogs. Yeast doughs can cause gas to accumulate in your dog’s digestive system causing the stomach to bloat and potentially twist.
Common table scraps can be potentially harmful as well. Poisonous foods to pets are onions, raisins, grapes, avocados and macadamia nuts. Extra rich foods such as gravies and meat fat and even some oils like coconut oil can be difficult for dogs to digest and can lead to pancreatitis. Dogs are generally lactose intolerant so dairy products should be avoided. Bones, especially turkey and chicken bones, are brittle and shards can get lodged into the esophagus or intestine causing internal bleeding.
If you desire to give your dog a special treat during the holidays, make your dog treat recipes that are safe or give your dog a tablespoon of pumpkin (a teaspoon for a small dog or puppy) that’s loaded with beta carotene and fiber to aid digestion. Whatever treat you decide, consider it part of your dog’s caloric needs for the day. It may be best to choose a chew toy instead to avoid messing with a dog’s digestive system.

photo credit: pixabay

2. Decorating with your dog in mind

Your dog’s new favorite toys may become the beautiful shiny ornaments and bright lights decorating your home. Unfortunately, consuming them may lead to internal gestational blockages or injury to the dog’s skin if an ornament breaks. Salt dough or other food based ornaments can be toxic as well. Your dog could be electrocuted or burned if he or she chews on the cord so unplug lights when you leave the home unsupervised. Set a boundary around your tree or other decorated areas. Be consistent in your commands - such as “no” - if you dog tries to play with them. A Christmas tree may have to be tied to the ceiling or doorframe with fishing line if your pet can not leave it alone to keep it from tipping over. Also, do not put water additives - such as aspirin, sugar, or fertilizers - to your live tree.
Holiday plants - amaryllis, mistletoe, balsam, pine, cedar, holly, and poisonettias - can be dangerous and even poisonous to your dog, among other plants. You may want to avoid bringing them into your home or keep them out of reach from your pet.
Extra noises can be alarming to your dog - everything from wrapping paper to fireworks. Be aware of stress signals your dog is giving to comfort them.

3. Inviting Guests Into Your Home

Depending on your dog’s previous situation, extra guests in your home may make your shelter dog have anxiety or become upset by houseguests. General noise and excitement from holiday get togethers can lead your dog to act more hyper. Create a safe, quiet place for your dog to relax if he or she needs to get away. If your guests want to bring pets along, decide whether you need to politely decline their request or allow supervised time for your pets to introduce themselves to each other. As a courtesy to your guests, you may want to inform them that you have a pet in case they have allergies.

Photo credit: Pixabay

4. Traveling with Your Dog

If you are crossing state lines or traveling internationally you may need to have a health certificate from your veterinarian, even when traveling in a car. Documentation may take months in advance so plan accordingly. Properly restrain your dog in a secure harness or carrier if traveling in a vehicle. Air travel can be risky; in fact, some short-nosed breeds of dogs including pugs, Boston Terriers, boxers, most mastiffs, Pekingese, Lhasa Apsos, Shih tzus and bulldogs are more likely to die on airplanes that normal-length muzzled dogs. Some airlines, such as United, has even banned air travel with them.
When traveling with your dog, bring along your dog’s food, medication, and identification information, but don’t forget medical information, first aid supplies, and a favorite toy. Plan extra time for stretching and bathroom breaks.
If you need to board your dog, investigate and ask the boarding facility questions ahead of time to make sure your dog will be safe and comfortable. Also ask about how the facility protects against canine flu and other contagious diseases. You may also consider hiring a trusted pet sitter to come into your home while you are away.

5. Keeping Routines with Your Dog

While you may be up early to open gifts or staying up late to watch fireworks, remember your dog doesn’t understand calendar days. Try to keep your walking and feeding routines the same time as normal. Giving a little extra affection will go a long way during the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

Regardless of your plans, these guidelines can be applied to your pet’s care at any time of the year. Make your holiday memorable without having to make a trip to the vet!

Michael John Kulick
My goal with this venture is to give these pets a fighting chance in finding a good home for them and to let people know about the health benefits that come with owning a pet. I believe that every is unique and that each dog can cater to different people.

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