Ah, the holidays: Joy and tinsel, celebrating and presents, family and friends, and making sure the dog is a part of it all. What you think might be fun and festive could potentially be something your dog dislikes.
Here then, in the true spirit of the Fidose of Reality season, are 8 ways to prevent your dog from hating the holidays and a bonus gift idea for dog parents. Feel the love and when you read this list, share it. Sharing is caring.
Watch Those Unexpected Hugs, Pats, and Guests
People visit, times are hectic, and there are strangers in your dog’s home. No matter how friendly your dog is on a general basis, unfamiliar territory, new faces, kids reacting to presents, and a houseful of people can precipitate an uneasiness in your dog. Kids may want to run up to Fido and hug or pet him. Think about petting: It’s like a stranger running up to you in public and hugging you without warning. I like it when people ask to pet my dog, and also when they don’t put their face right in my dog’s face. Proceed with caution, and think like the dog. Do you want Aunt Mary squeezing your cheeks? Your dog doesn’t, either.
Mistletoe contains multiple substances that are toxic to both dogs and cats. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, when accidentally ingested by our pets, mistletoe poisoning can result in mild signs of gastrointestinal irritation (e.g., drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain). Don’t have mistletoe around if you have pets.
Here’s a list of dangerous winter plants to dogs from petMD.
Don We Now Our Gay Apparel
Longtime readers of this blog know that our dog wears clothes, as he has since puppyhood, and he has no problem with it. If he did, I wouldn’t do something that upsets him. Not all dogs are into fashion. Not all dogs like wearing clothes. If this is the case and your dog is truly upset or stressed by it, don’t do it. However, many dogs just need a little coaxing and positive reinforcement. This means no yelling, getting frustrated, forcing a dog to wear clothes, or in any way getting upset. This means starting with a bandana and if the dog allows this and walks around with it for a minute or two, reward him and praise him like he just won a dog show.
Down Time For Doggie
With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays and visitors, a dog’s routine gets out of sorts. Make sure the dog has access to a quiet room, kennel, or space where he or she can escape from the excitement. That escape should be free of any holiday dangers like electrical wires, cords, candles, foods, etc.
Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me
Never punish a dog if he does something that you are not happy about; dogs respond to positive reinforcement. If a puppy is not cooperating or not doing the desired behavior during training, it isn’t that he is being “spiteful” or defiant: He is just being a puppy and your behavior needs to be modified. Consider the task at hand and reconsider how you are training. Also, it could be the puppy isn’t ready for that task or is distracted. The same holds true for adult dogs. If an adult dog does something you are not pleased about, never “punish” or “banish” them to a kennel.
Dogs are pack animals, so safely and with supervision include them in your holiday plans.
Lost in the Night and Hating the Holidays
No one wants their dog to go missing or bolt out the door, never to be seen again. Be sure dogs are kept away from doors and the comings and goings associated with the holidays. People may arrive at any given time, there are deliveries being made, and a lot of hubbub taking place.
Should the worst happen and your dog accidentally gets lost, here is a comprehensive list to help find a lost dog.
Protect Dogs from Theft
There are vile people in this world who concoct horrific ways to steal your dog away for drug money, dog fighting, to sell to a lab, or worse. There are ways to protect your dog from being stolen. Criminals attempt to break into your home to steal presents, knowing the holidays are a time of year when people are shopping and bringing their haul back home.
I know of several dog parents who had their homes broken into and their dogs set free into the streets so the criminals could do their nasty business.
Here’s how to protect your dog from being stolen.
Accidents Happen: Be Prepared
Do you know what to do in the event of an emergency with your dog? One of the worst things that has ever happened to me occurred with my first Cocker Spaniel. She was eating a bully stick and started to choke. I knew she had likely broken a piece off and it lodged somewhere in the back of her throat or down her throat. She started to panic and tried to breathe, but she was gasping. I tried to recall the Heimlich maneuver I learned from a first aid class I took years before, and the first thing they told us was to look into the mouth for anything obstructing the airway. By the grace of Dog and God, I saw a piece of treat lodged in the back of her throat. I have no idea how my fingers reached so far back, but I did and gently pulled the bully stick piece from her throat. I started crying and hugging my dog. I never ever want to go through that again.
Here are some of our favorite tips for what to do in a dog emergency.
Bonus Tip: Give the Gift Dog Parents Don’t Expect
What should you get for the dog parent who has everything? How about an updated first aid kit for their dog(s)? Whenever I give this gift, it is well received and people remember that gift for a long time.
Here’s a list of items to put in a dog first aid kit.
Our pal, Melissa Clinton, of Barking From the Bayou, share her humorous paw-spective take on dogs and holidays so stop by her blog, too.
Hating the holidays is not something dogs should do, so together we can ensure they have a fun and safe time!