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Things to Keep in Mind Throughout the Holiday Seasons

Teri Latronica / Tender Touch Training

Try to keep your pets routine as normal as possible. Make sure to walk feed and exercise your pet as close to their normal schedule as possible.

If your dog is the excitable or anxious type, he might benefit from an over-the-counter remedy, such as Rescue Remedy, to help keep him calm and relaxed. Ask your veterinarian about his or her recommendations as well as how much you should use and how often.

Comfort Zone DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) can also help maintain your dog's calm demeanor. DAP mimics the effects of a pheromone emitted by nursing female dogs, thought to calm the puppies. It can be delivered through a wall diffuser (similar to an air-freshener plug-in); a special collar impregnated with the substance, or can be directly sprayed on bedding or a bandana worn by your dog.

Holiday Décor: Dog Safety Issues.

Holiday trappings help to maintain the merry mood but can be fraught with dangers for your dog. Here are some things to watch out for:

Christmas Trees & Décor:

Tinsel, popcorn strands, and other garland-like decorations can cause serious internal injuries if ingested, and these are just the kinds of things that curious dogs can't resist.

The ribbons, string, and other wrapping accessories found on gifts can be very problematic as well. These can lead to choking or strangulation for a curious puppy or kitten.

All Christmas trees should be firmly anchored to the wall or ceiling to prevent it from being toppled by an inquisitive pooch. Cats and kittens love to climb your tree and find it hard to resist the ornaments.

If you can't avoid all these things, try encircling your Christmas tree and gift display with an exercise pen to keep your dog away but still allowing you to enjoy your holiday cheer.

Water at the base of natural trees can contain anti-freeze and other preservatives that are dangerous to your pets. The water can also contain harmful bacteria, which can cause diarrhea.

Candles can be attractive because of their smell, taste and texture. Make sure they are perched on high shelves out of Rover's reach! Never leave a lit candle unsupervised as they are easily knocked over and quickly become a fire hazard.

Keep wires and batteries out of your pets reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus.

Ornaments, both glass and plastic can cause potential hazards. Obviously the glass ornaments can cause minor to severe cuts and plastic ornaments can cause choking hazards as well as the possibility of an intestinal blockage.

While many snow globes are still made of glass, others can be found in chewable plastic with plastic bases. Chewed plastic shards from broken globes can be life threatening. Many globes also add an anti-freeze-like substance to the water inside to slow the movement of the snow inside, so a double danger!

Holly when ingested can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal and cardiovascular problems. Many lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt instead for silk or plastic flowers.

Toys:

Be sure to pick toys that are basically indestructible. Kong’s and Nylabones are good options for your dog. Cats can enjoy balls (too big to swallow) and catnip toys. Do not use yarn or string as they may ingest these causing a blockage and possible surgery. Other interactive cat toys are fun for your pet and you to play together!

Dogs and kids don't always mix!

Holiday gatherings can be very over-stimulating for dogs and kids alike, so never leave the dog alone with any little people, even his own kids. An adult who knows when your dog needs a break should strictly supervise interactions between the dog and kids.

Guests:

Make sure your guests know not to feed your dog from the table. Lots of fatty tidbits handed out by well-meaning visitors can also lead to a dangerous bout of pancreatitis or intestinal upset. If your friends can't help but offer your dog a treat (who can resist!), have a portioned supply of his special treats or even his kibble on hand that guests can use instead.

Be sure to keep unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.

Be sure to keep chocolate and anything with xylitol away from your dog, as these are harmful if ingested.

Make sure all medications are stored out of reach of your pets at ALL times as they can pose a health risk. Be sure to remind guests staying with you to keep their meds sealed and packed away!

Quiet retreat.

Give your pet a space of their own where they can get away from the hubbub of the Holidays. Move their bed, crate, and water bowls to a quiet location where your pet can retreat to it’s own safe haven. No guests allowed!

Have a SAFE and HAPPY HOLIDAY

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Terri Latronica    APDT    CPDT-KA

Bree, Cooper, & Tucker

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