By Patty Dobson
The holidays are upon us, and it’s often an energetic, bustling, festive time full of friends, family and feast-filled days and nights. While hectic at times and definitely treat-filled, it’s important to keep our furry friends happy, safe and well-cared for by trying to keep with their regular eating and activity routine and investing in pup appropriate holiday treats. Here are some additional tips to make your furry friends and family happy and healthy this holiday:
- Hold off on holiday flowers - Mistletoe, Holly, and Poinsettias contain poisonous parts, which can upset your pup’s stomach or cause cardiovascular problems.
- Safely secure your tree – This prevents your tree from tipping and injuring your pup. It also stops the spilling of tree water, which can contain stomach upsetting fertilizer and be a breeding ground for bacteria, which you pup can accidentally injest.
- Organize ornaments and tinsel – Keep the yule tide shine and sparkle higher up on the tree and away from your pup’s curious chompers. Small bits can create a choking hazard and broken bits of ornaments can cut your pup’s tongue, throat, and stomach.
- Keep candles in the clear – Elevate your illuminated lights up and out of your pup’s range, avoiding unnecessary accidents and burns to their fur. If using a fireplace, keep your pup clothing free to prevent the possibility of a heat involved mishap.
- Nix the noise makers and firecrackers – Pups hear a higher frequency range, making them more sensitive to loud noises. Festive sound makers can freak out our furry friends, causing panic, discomfort, and anxiety in our pups.
Food and Drinks
- Halt holiday handouts – advise visitors against giving your pup a bite of their food or leftovers, such as fatty or cured meats and trimmings, which are hard on a pup’s digestion, as well as poultry bones, which can splinter, causing lacerations on your dog’s digestive system, can cause obstruction, and create a choking hazard. Opt instead to offer you pup a special dog treat he can enjoy during the festivities, so he’s not left out, such as a peanut butter filled in a sturdy chew toy he can slowly and enjoyably work his way through.
Other commonly used holiday ingredients to avoid include:
- Onion and garlic - toxic to dogs in all forms and can cause hemolyticanemia, or the bursting of red blood cells. Garlic’s affect is 5x stronger.
- Spices - cinnamon and nutmeg can wreak havoc on a pup’s body; nutmeg contains myristicin, which in large amounts causes seizures and central nervous system issues. Cinnamon can cause vomiting, diarrhea, low blood sugar and liver disease.
- Grapes and raisins – small amounts can cause kidney failure and lack of urine production.
- Raw eggs – contain the risk of salmonella, a bacteria which causes the infected to suffer from diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps, which for both pup and human are no fun.
- Macadamia nuts – can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia (overheated body).
- Cake batter and bread dough - eaten raw, it can rise in stomach, causing bloating and vomiting.
- Ensure holiday food’s inaccessible – this includes unattended plates of food, which are prone to your pup sneakily swiping it.
- Ditch the desserts - keep sweets high and out of your pup’s reach. Chocolate contains methylxanthines, such as stomach upsetting theobromine and caffeine, which can upset stomachs, cause muscle tremors, internal bleeding, irregular heartbeat, seizures, and heart attacks. Sweets and baked goods containing artificial sweeteners like Xylitol, can cause low blood sugar, liver failure, seizures, and even death.
- Avoid alcohol – while cute and funny when a pup takes a swig of beer or sip of wine in the movies, it’s not so funny when a pup’s vomiting, experiencing diarrhea, or having difficulty breathing. Leave holiday libations clear of your pup’s paws.
- Keep healthy treats on hand for your pup.
- If possible, have a space for your pup to retreat and enjoy some peace and quiet.
- Relax and enjoy some quality time with your pup. It’s all he needs to have a magical, wonderful holiday!