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November 15, 2020

How to Protect Your Dog From Common Holiday Hazards

The holiday season is upon us, complete with all of the fun memories made with loved ones that this time of year brings. However, in the midst of the festivities, there are holiday hazards for pets that you should be aware of. Read on for more information on keeping your dog safe and calm during the holidays.

Decorate With Care

One of the most common holiday hazards for pets is decorations. According to Shea Cox, DVM, holiday decorations can result in medical emergencies for your pets as “there just seems to be no way for our curious pups to resist all of that holiday paraphernalia.” Some of the hazards that come with holiday decorations include:

Lights

Holiday lights pose an electrocution hazard when the cords are chewed on by dogs. The signs that your dog might have been electrocuted include confusion, difficulty breathing, burn injuries in the mouth, seizures, and even sudden death. To protect your pup from your holiday lights, you should:

  • Hang the lights out of reach.
  • Ensure that the cord is adequately protected.
  • Use three-pronged extension cords.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s directions for light usage.

Tinsel and Ribbon

These items can cause an intestinal blockage if your dog tries to eat them. Usually, these items will bunch up in the dog’s intestines, resulting in symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and depression. Surgical removal of the blockage is the most common treatment. Do not leave your dog unattended around tinsel or ribbon. If you see the end of one of these items hanging from your dog’s mouth or rear, don’t attempt to pull on it or remove it as tinsel and ribbon can cause cuts when pulled.

Ornaments

Intestinal blockage is also a concern with ornaments. Glass ornaments can also fall and break, resulting in paw injuries for your dog if he or she steps on the pieces. Be sure to adequately secure ornaments and hang them out of your dog’s reach.

Trees and Water

These items contain preservatives and sap that can upset your dog’s stomach, leading to vomiting and diarrhea.

Holiday Plants

Many holiday plants — including lilies, amaryllis, poinsettia, and mistletoe — are toxic to dogs. These holiday hazards for pets should be placed out of their reach to avoid nausea, diarrhea, liver damage, or even death.

Be Mindful of Your Dog’s Routine

Two toddlers and a pet dog wearing holiday antlers and hats

Dogs don’t just thrive on having a routine — they also depend on it. Sudden routine changes without proper preparation can lead to anxiety, stress, and depression for your dog. Some of the holiday-centered situations that can upset his or her routine include:

Traveling With You to Someone Else’s Home for the Holidays

This creates the stressful situation of traveling. It can also feature a change in feeding time, a new environment, and the presence of people who the dog is not normally around.

Leaving the Dog in a Kennel While You Travel

Just like taking the dog with you, leaving him or her in a kennel still results in a sudden change of environment, feeding times, and who is around. It can also lead to separation anxiety.

Having Holiday Guests in Your Home

While the dog may be just as happy to see friends and family as you are, adding a new person or people to the dog’s routine can leave him or her feeling confused or over-excited. This can result in bad behavior.

You Being Home for the Holidays

If your dog is used to you working or being outside the home for long periods of the day, then suddenly finding that you have hours to spend with him or her will likely be a joyful discovery. However, remember that your dog sleeps most of the time. You being home more during the holidays, while being enjoyable for the dog, can lead to overstimulation and cause him or her to miss out on sleep. Dogs require around 12-14 hours of sleep each day.

Your Own Stress

Part of your dog’s routine is having you in it. Dogs are excellent at sensing stress, but they don’t know how to process it. While it’s impossible for most of us to avoid feeling at least a little stressed during the holiday season, remember holiday stresses for you are holiday hazards for pets. Keep a sense of calm in your home through soothing music, planned “rest days” in the midst of the festivities, and avoiding fighting with family members. This will not only alleviate your stress but your dog’s stress, as well.

Be Prepared on Long Car Trips

While long car trips will upset your dog’s routine, that’s not the only hazard you have to worry about in the car with your pup during holiday travel. Many car-related holiday hazards for pets can be resolved by:

Restraining Your Dog When in the Car

A loose dog in the car is not just at risk of becoming injured in an accident. They can actually become a missile and cause injury to others in the car, as well. Additionally, loose dogs in the car can also create distractions for the driver. Restraining your dog in the back seat is the best way to avoid all of those hazards. It can also prevent him or her from becoming injured or killed by the front-seat airbags in an accident.

Restraints can include a crate or kennel on the seat or in the back cargo area if you drive an SUV. Also, you can use a dog harness or car seat that can be belted directly to the seat. Placing the dog’s favorite blanket or toy on the seat near him or her will help your pup relax and enjoy the ride.

Planning Your Journey to Include Safe Locations Where You and Your Dog Can Take Regular Breaks Along the Way

Your dog needs regular pit stops for using the bathroom and having a drink of water. But he or she also benefits from having a little time to run, play, and expend energy.

Knowing That Dogs Often Get Car Sick

To avoid this, experts recommend that you only feed them small quantities of food at a time. You can also help them adapt to car travel with shorter trips around town before the full road-trip experience.

You Can Restore Your Dog’s Sense of Calm

Holidays are stressful for everyone, including dogs. One of the many ways you can make this time of year a bit easier for your pet is to provide them with the calming treat of Hush, Puppy CBD chews. There are three milligrams of CBD in every chew, along with other active, calming ingredients. Okoa’s Hush Puppy CBD Chews are an all-natural treatment for pet stress. Even if you can’t remove all of these holiday hazards for pets, natural solutions can help your pet get through the holidays with less stress.