Top Holiday Safety Tips for Responsible Dog

With the turning of the season into the holidays, we settle in for months of cozy weather and tasty indulgences. For responsible pet owners, the holiday season can come with a new set of obstacles–and temptations–for your dog. With a few simple steps and a little extra consideration, you can keep Fido safe this year while you celebrate!

Build In Quality Time

Whether you set aside a day dedicated to a quality photoshoot for lasting dog portraits or simply take some time to go for an extra-long walk, it’s important to prioritize one-on-one time with your pooch during the bustle of the holidays. The last thing you want is for your dog to have pent-up energy while you leave them unattended to head to the neighbor’s holiday party…or there’s no telling what heirloom decorative wall hanging or perfectly-wrapped present might get a little too much attention. 

Keeping your dog on a relatively reliable schedule for exercise makes any changes to your daily routine less stressful. Regular exercise will help your pooch adapt should you take the night off, or have family over to visit–after all, it’s all about setting your dog up for success!

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Be Mindful of Presents and Decorations

Pulling out the holiday box from the attic means a whole new array of stuff for your dog to sniff. Do the whole family a favor and don’t leave out anything too–er–enticing. Here are some problem items to watch out for:

  • decorations that are felted, knitted, or sewn, especially with buttons or sharp objects (basically anything that might look like a dog toy)
  • holiday lights at mouth-level or anything with electrical wiring and/or glass
  • anything edible, including popcorn strings, dehydrated fruit slices, gingerbread houses with chocolate, etc
  • lit and unattended candles
  • poinsettias, holly, or other toxic plants
  • gifts under the tree

While it may be thoughtful that you remembered Mom’s favorite bar of chocolate, this gift is best delivered straight from your hand to hers. Store edible or dangerous gifts someplace your dog can’t find them rather than under the tree! (Speaking of thoughtful holiday gifts, check out these candid dog portraits.)

Secure Your Tree

While it’s awesome to have a big tree indoors for the holidays, it can be slightly less awesome if that tree ends up on the floor–especially with a pet nearby! Even if your dog isn’t always prone to the zoomies, make sure you have a solid foundation for your tree this year and keep your pooch safe!

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Don't Overindulge

While it can be tempting to offer your four-legged friends a nibble of turkey leg, it’s best practice to make sure their celebration is safe by minimizing their exposure to indulgent foods. For example, roasted or cooked animal bones are dangerous for your dog, as they may splinter. Be mindful of unattended foods like chocolate truffles or boozy cocktails. And if you must give your dog a holiday bone, give them a raw one!

Give Pets a Safe Space

If you plan on having people over for the holidays, set aside a quiet room where your dog can go and retreat. Set up food, water, and a dog bed or kennel for Fido in case he gets overstimulated and wants to go settle down. Remind your guests to keep any dangerous substances, like chocolate or medications, literally and figuratively over your dog’s head! Hang up purses and coats when folks arrive; you can even block your dog’s access to these items with a closed door or a baby gate.

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