4 Ways To Keep Your Furry Friend Healthy And Safe During The Holiday Season

Posted on: 8 August 2017

With summer's end just around the bend, many people are looking forward to enjoying holiday activities with friends and family. However, the holidays aren't always the best time for furry friends. Following are four ways to keep your canine companion happy and healthy over the holidays.

Avoid Letting Your Dog Be a Party Animal 

As social animals, dogs naturally want to get in on the action when you're entertaining in your home. However, many dogs simply find themselves becoming overwhelmed when in the company of strangers for very long, and with people coming in and out of your home, your canine companion may take advantage of the situation to slip away to find some peace and quiet. Unfortunately, because of your obligations as a host, it may be awhile before you notice that your furry friend has flown the coop, and by this time, it may be too late. Traffic is heavier than usual during the holiday season, creating an elevated risk of your dog getting hit by a car. Your dog may also become lost. Although it's a common belief that dogs can always use scent to find their way back home, their scent of smell diminishes significantly once temperatures dip below freezing, so keep this in mind if you live in an area that experiences seasonal cold snaps. 

Instead of letting your furry friend free-range while your party is going on, bring it out on a leash for a few minutes during the time when the fun's just getting started, and let it socialize with guests for several minutes. After that, sequester your dog in a quiet room for the duration of the festivities. 

Avoid Feeding Your Dog Certain Types of Human Foods

Feeding your dog certain types of human foods can result in an impromptu trip to your local emergency vet. Foods to avoid include chocolate, onions and garlic, grapes, salty snack foods, under-cooked meat, baked goods made with the artificial sweetener xylitol, alcoholic beverages, anything made with avocados, dairy products, and anything caffeinated. It's especially important during family celebrations to ensure that children don't slip your dog a treat or two -- that piece of chocolate fudge could be fatal. If you want your to allow your furry friend to partake of the feast, stick with a small amount of lean, well-cooked meat such as the something from the end cut of a prime rib or a small piece of turkey breast. 

Avoid Neglecting Your Pet Because of Holiday Obligations

If your dog doesn't receive its customary amount of attention and affection because you're busy with holiday obligations, it may become anxious a a result. Dogs are highly sensitive to changes in human behavior, and yours may interpret a lack of attention as a threatening disruption in the order of the pack. Do the best you can to maintain your usual routine, such as going for walks at the same time each day and sticking to your regular feeding schedule. Keep in mind that as far as your dog is concerned, even a short walk at that usual time of day is better than none. Also, keep in mind that paying attention to your pet on a regular basis keeps you tuned into any health problems that it may be developing. 

Avoid Allowing Your Dog Access to Toxic Holiday Plants

You may think it's cute to hang a sprig of mistletoe around your furry friend's neck, but mistletoe contains volatile toxins that can result in you having to rush your dog to the emergency vet. Other traditional holiday plants that are poisonous to animals are holly and poinsettias. If you decide to include these in your holiday decor, make sure that they are well out of reach. 

Your local veterinarian can provide you with more helpful tips and tricks designed to ensure that your pet enjoys a happy and healthy holiday season.