Living with dogs: tips for the holidays

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This can be a confusing time for pets with new smells, guests and strange new things in the house. The last thing you want is to spend Christmas day at the Emergency Vet Clinic. Here are some basic tips to make sure everyone in the family enjoys a safe and happy holiday:



  •  Christmas trees can be fascinating for cats and dogs alike – never leave your pets alone in the same room with the tree.
  • Watch for glass ornaments which can cut your pets mouth. Please note that these look like shiny new balls to your dog.
  • Tape Christmas light cords to the floor or baseboards so animals can’t chew on them. For dedicated chewers, coat the taped cords with some Bitter Apple to to make them less tempting.
  • Keep your candles out of reach; most pets have little sense when it comes to safety around candles. Don’t let them learn the hard way. Never leave lit candles and pets together unsupervised.
  • Tinsel can be irresistible for most cats and puppies – when eaten it can cause serious digestive blockages. If you see tinsel hanging out of your pets’ rear it’s best to have a vet remove it as pulling it out can cut and tear your pets insides quite badly. Better yet –        avoid using it.
  • Many festive plants are toxic to your pets: Mistletoe, Ivy, Holly and Poinsettias can cause severe stomach upset and in some cases, death.
  • A turkey feast is a wonderful tradition but be sure to dispose of bones in a tightly sealed container as they can splinter and get stuck in your dogs throat. Saving the fat trimmings from a turkey or ham for your dog is a nice thought but your pet can’t  metabolize large amounts of fat. This can actually cause pancreatitis.
  • Watch out for chocolate which can be lethal for your dog. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. Alcohol is also toxic to pets – make sure that guests don’t leave glasses at your dog’s nose level.
  • Keep plenty of stuffed Kongs ready in the fridge or freezer as well as Rover’s favourite chewies to keep him busy while entertaining.
  • With house guests coming and going there are lots of opportunities for dangerous doorway escapes – exercise caution around doorways. Better yet, keep your pets away from the door when entertaining by confining them to certain areas of the house or using baby gates.
  • If Rover is shy or wary of strangers or children, give him somewhere safe and quiet  to hang out when the house is crowded with guests.
  • Stumped for a realistic New Year’s resolution? Plan to teach Rover to stay in his bed or crate while dining and to stay away from open doors for a hassle free holiday next  year!!