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Safety in Your Home For Your Holiday Hound
Wow, how time flies. It doesn’t seem likely that the holidays will be around here again. With the holidays comes family, friends, food, decorations and of course gifts! What really got me thinking about the upcoming holidays was the thought of dragging my tree upstairs, putting it up, and the reality that we have a new “puppy toddler” in our house.
Mind you, my babies are well into their teens and our third child, Rodeo – a VERY spoiled Border Collie, will be four on Christmas Day and the cat is only about ten. So, for too many years, we didn’t have to think about “child/dog proofing” the household.
However, a few weeks ago, we adopted a new family member from a rescue shelter. Her name is Maddie and she is a Border Collie Mix and is about a year old. She is the most angelic little girl but like any rescue puppy, she has some “issues”. We work with her to give her the much needed training she has been denied, but many days the puppy in her gets the better of her. Hahaha
Honestly, I can just picture her attacking the Christmas tree like she’s a lineman who has a direct shot at the quarterback for the game-winning play! Trust me when I say there is nothing this dog can’t chew or destroy if she puts her mind to it. To her credit, she responds nicely to her training and quickly learns what’s allowed and what’s not. He is a truly wonderful dog who has already stolen my heart.
After the nightmare of the Christmas tree on my head, I started thinking about a lot of other potential hazards to look out for as I set up my house this year and I want to share them with you.
For starters, it won’t do any good to leave packages around the bottom of the tree for them to access. For one thing, wrapping and bows can be a choking hazard, but you also need to consider what might be inside the gifts. Your dog could possibly eat it, drink it, destroy it, or Lord only knows what else! So either find a stand to display the gifts or just keep them in the closet until you unwrap them.
In addition to the Christmas tree, you better think about the plants that are often used to decorate our homes during the holidays. I know every year we get at least one Poinsettia as a gift and that can really upset your dog’s stomach. The same goes for leaves, berries, and mistletoe, but mistletoe can actually cause their hearts to collapse. Therefore, plants should be left on counters or tables where your dog cannot reach them.
Don’t forget the little things like toy batteries, tape, string, paper clips and what I call all the “smelly good stuff”. What am I talking about? You know how they sell plug-ins, scented beads, scented candles, they scent everything, just keep it out of reach.
The other category of small things is decorations. Items such as tinsel, ornaments, hooks for ornaments, candy from the tree, bulbs from the lights, electrical wires and decorative strings of beads. Taken together, these can be extreme choking and/or sharp cutting hazards. They can also cause an intestinal blockage in your dog that would require surgery to remove.
If you’re like us, you almost always bring your dog with you if you’re traveling for an extended period of time. I mean it’s part of the family. Even so, the Christmas season can just be crazy with so many new people and loud toys that can really make your dog uncomfortable and overly anxious.
In some cases it may be advisable to look at either leaving them at home or placing them in a separate room where it would be calm and less hectic. You wouldn’t want to put your dog in the position where he felt threatened and unwittingly bit someone out of fear. It’s just an unfavorable situation all around.
In closing, it is especially important to try to stick to your dog’s routine as much as possible. Try to make sure they have their food and water as you would normally serve it. Avoid giving them any leftovers or unusual foods off the table. These are prime targets for upset stomachs and diarrhea. If you generally put them to bed or potty at specific times, stick to that routine. If it’s hectic, set a timer on your watch or phone to remind you. This will help prevent any accidents. It will also keep them less agitated to have a familiar routine.
Last but certainly not least, Make sure your dog has a good quality collar that has CURRENT identification information. I would suggest you consider investing in an embroidered collar with their name and a phone number. I personally use my cell phone number on my dog’s collars. That way, if they get loose and I look them out, if someone calls, they’ll call my cell. Don’t forget to add their vet tags and any registration tags so you know they have full contact information.
Most importantly, just be sure to savor and enjoy the holiday. Remember to spend quality time with your dog this holiday season and don’t forget his gifts!
The holidays are about family, friends, fun and food – but sometimes it’s easy to forget about holiday safety for your dog. We all want our dogs to be part of the celebration, but there are some important guidelines to follow. Keep your dog safe this holiday season – no one wants their holiday to end at the emergency vet clinic!
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