The holiday season brings joy, decorations, delicious food, and good (though perhaps this year limited) company. In all the seasonal flurry, it’s good to keep in mind a few ways to keep your dog’s safety in check so they can enjoy the holidays, too. Our mission at Dog Guard is to keep dogs safe and so we’re sharing our top tips for keeping your dog safe during the holiday season.
#1 Avoid leaving human food within your dog’s reach
Holiday baked goodies and candy are sometimes sweetened with an artificial sweetener called xylitol. This class of sugar alcohol is absorbed much more quickly by dogs than humans, resulting in a dangerous release of insulin. This causes a significant decrease in blood sugar levels, also known as hypoglycemia. Some symptoms of xylitol consumption in your dog include lethargic behavior, unstable walking patterns, collapsing, and seizures. Other items that contain xylitol are mouthwash, chewable vitamins, peanut/nut butters, breath mints and gum, and sugar-free desserts.
#2 Provide a getaway spot for your dog
Often the holidays bring company, both great and small, into your home. Loud talking or a lot of activity may cause your dog some anxiety, so it’s helpful to provide them a quiet, secluded place to escape when the holiday festivities get to be too much. Reserve a room in the quieter part of your home with food, water, and a bed for your dog to relax.
#3 Dog-proof your decorations
While wreaths and bulbs inspire holiday joy, they can be a danger to your dog. For those with real Christmas trees, consider a tree stand cover to prevent your dog from drinking the tree water. This water can be full of chemicals and additives that can be harmful to your dog. Make sure your real or artificial tree is stable and steady to keep it from falling on your dog if they bump it.
#4 Keep your dog safe from cold weather
Cold weather at the holidays is tough on people, and also tough on dogs. For indoor dogs, only let them outside to go to the bathroom and be sure to check their paws for ice. When going for a walk, consider putting Vaseline or booties on your dog’s paws to protect them from salt and road chemicals. Indoor dogs’ beds should be in areas that are warm and sealed against any drafts. Outdoor dogs will need to be frequently checked for frostbite and will need extra food portions since their bodies will use more calories to stay warm. All outdoor dogs must have a shelter of some kind to protect them from severe weather.
#5 Holiday travel tips
Though the COVID-19 pandemic may limit travel, it’s still helpful to have some traveling tips to keep your dog safe. For road trips, keep your dog in a safe, well-ventilated crate that gives them enough space to move around. Be sure to pack food, water, a leash, and doggie bags in a pet-friendly travel kit. If you are traveling by plane, try to book a direct flight whenever possible. Make sure to attach identification to your dog’s crate and tell the appropriate airline staff you are traveling with a dog in case of an emergency.
All these tips will ensure your dog gets to enjoy the holidays with you. At Dog Guard we hope you have a safe and happy holiday season while keeping your furry friends healthy.