Do you have a lot of plans for the holidays? This month can be extremely busy, with lots of different events and festivities to juggle. Our canine companions also have a few annual traditions to keep up with. A Yorkville, IL vet lists some of them below.
At this time of year, you can barely turn around without finding a delicious appetizer or perhaps a box of holiday cookies. Fido will be happy to sample anything and everything you put out. Just don’t let him have any unsafe foods. That list includes grapes, currants, and raisins; garlic and onions; meat on the bones; avocado; pitted fruits; chocolate; caffeine; and anything that contains xylitol. Ask your vet for more info.
Fido is truly extraordinary in the way he strives to please and protect his humans. Your furry friend will dutifully let you know whenever someone arrives at the door. (He may also try to protect you from that inflatable Santa or the singing snowman in the living room.) If your dog gets a bit too worked up, keep him in his crate or a back room as people are coming and going. You don’t want to isolate him, but you don’t want him knocking Grandma over, either. (Note: Behavioral training may be a good long-term solution.)
Don’t forget to pick up some gifts for Fido! Toys are of course the ultimate present for our canine pals. Puppies may need durable chew toys, while adult dogs may enjoy things like puzzle toys or treat dispensing toys. Senior pooches, on the other paw, may like things that are soft on the mouth.
We always love seeing adorable holiday pictures of our furry patients. Snap some seasonal pictures of your canine pal. If you have a hard time getting good shots, try downloading a pet camera app. These often have settings that help get those super cute photos of Fido and Fluffy.
Keep Fido’s safety in mind as you are decorating. Anything small or sharp is a potential hazard. That includes things like manger pieces, ornament hooks, small ornaments, and little figurines. Many seasonal plants, such as holly, ivy, and mistletoe, are toxic to dogs. If you get a real tree, cover the water bowl: the water could have been contaminated by chemicals. Ask your vet for more information.
During the holidays, several common foods can be unsafe for your dog. Keep your furry friend away from chocolate, caffeine, and anything containing xylitol, as these are toxic to dogs. Avoid grapes, raisins, currants, onions, garlic, and avocado, which can cause health issues. Meat bones and fat trimmings can lead to digestive upset or more severe conditions like pancreatitis. Also, steer clear of alcohol and pitted fruits. Sticking to dog-specific treats and consulting with your vet for any concerns or incidents is safest.
To manage your dog’s behavior when greeting guests, start by providing regular training sessions focused on commands like ‘sit’ and ‘stay.’ Before guests arrive, exercise your dog to burn off excess energy. While guests arrive, please keep your dog leashed or in a different area until they settle down. Reinforce their calm demeanor with treats and positive reinforcement. If your dog gets overly excited, distract them with a toy or a chew. For dogs that tend to jump or bark a lot, think about crate training or setting up a tranquil space in a separate room, away from the hustle and bustle, to provide them with a cozy, peaceful area.
Dry chew toys are ideal for puppies, as they help with teething and provide stimulation. For adult dogs, consider engaging toys like puzzle toys or treat dispensers that challenge their minds and encourage active play. Older dogs may benefit from softer, gentle toys on their aging teeth and jaws. Regardless of age, ensure toys are size-appropriate and non-toxic. Avoid small parts that can be swallowed or chewed off. Always supervise playtime and choose toys catering to your dog’s health, activity level, and preferences.
Several decorations and plants can be hazardous to your dog during the holidays. Tinsel, ribbon, and ornaments can cause intestinal blockages if ingested. Electrical cords and lights pose a risk of electric shock if chewed. Keep candles out of reach to prevent burns or fires. For plants, holly, mistletoe, poinsettias, and Christmas lilies are toxic to dogs and should be kept away. If you have a real Christmas tree, ensure your dog doesn’t drink the water, which may contain harmful chemicals. Constantly monitor your pet around holiday decor to ensure their safety.
To ensure your dog’s safety around a real Christmas tree, secure the tree to prevent it from tipping over. Use a sturdy base and consider anchoring the tree to the wall or ceiling with a strong line. Cover the water basin to prevent your dog from drinking it, as it may contain fertilizers or other chemicals harmful to pets. Avoid using additives in the water. Keep ornaments, especially breakable ones, out of reach. Sweep up fallen needles regularly since they can be sharp and potentially harmful if ingested.
Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your Yorkville, IL animal clinic, today!