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Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe Through the Howlin' Holidays and New Year

Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe Through the Howlin' Holidays and New Year

Wrapping paper. Shiny packages. Tasty foods. Guests galore. It’s all part of a happy holiday season. But those same joys for us may pose dangers for our furry friends if we’re not careful. Follow these easy tips, though, and you’ll enjoy a safer holiday all around the house.

Holiday foods

There are so many tempting treats during these special days.  In order to keep your best friend’s tummy in check, it’s best to feed your dog nothing but his own dog food and treats.  You may not know what exactly is in some of the delicious dishes that come to your house.  It’s always good to remind guests not to share their food with your furry friends since there are many foods that can pose a danger to your dogs including:

  • Alcohol
  • Avocados
  • Candy containing xylitol as a sweetener (many brands of gum use xylitol)
  • Chocolate
  • Drinks with caffeine, including coffee and sodas
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Onions, garlic and chives
  • Raw or undercooked meat, eggs and bones
  • Yeast dough


  • If your dog is unfamiliar with your guests, be sure to quietly introduce them once the initial excitement of them arriving is over.  Share any specific rules or concerns about your dog that you would like your visitors to know.
  • Set aside a quiet, safe area where your dog can escape to hide away from people if your best friend would like some quiet time.
  • Have a place where your guests can put purses, coats and packages out of your dog’s reach.
  • If your dog has the tendency to dart out the door when given the opportunity, put a sign on the door (inside and outside) not to open until someone answers and the dog is in a safe place.
  • Visiting guests can interrupt your dog’s treasured routine. Keep things on an even keel by observing regular meal schedules, walks and play times, when possible.

Tree trimmings and wrapping

  • Tie or tape down all electrical cords to prevent chewing, tripping and electrical hazards.
  • Try to keep light strings off the lower branches where they are easy for pets to grab with their mouths.
  • If your dogs are a tad bit too curious about the tree, you can surround the tree with boxes or a gate to help keep them from it.
  • If you have a live tree, don’t let your dog drink the tree water, which can contain toxic tree sap. Keeping your tree in a corner can help with this!
  • Keep tinsel and strung-up decorations out of reach as they may cause injuries if your pet eats them.
  • Ribbons, string, and other wrapping accessories can lead to issues. Get them into the trash as soon as gifts are unwrapped.  If you wrap some gifts for your pooch, leave off the people decorations and be sure to take away the paper once the treasure is retrieved.

Decorations and plants

  • Many holidays are celebrated with candles.  Scented candles can attract dogs, so keep them on high shelves. A simple tail wag can send a candle quickly to the floor.
  • Avoid real mistletoe & holly: Holly may cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea; mistletoe may cause cardiovascular problems.
  • Poinsettia sap is mildly toxic and can make your sick.  Medical attention is required to treat poinsettia ingestion.
  • Keep stockings filled with toys, wrapping and treats high.

Holiday cheer all around.

Your dog doesn’t give a holiday hoot what day it is as long as he’s with you. And he will favor the festivities more thanks to these few simple precautions. In the end, keep your dogs calm, keep your dogs safe, and you’ll have a howlin’ good holiday season together!

How will you celebrate the holidays with your dog? Jump into the conversation!

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