Keep Your Dog Safe and Holiday Happy!

Keep Your Dog Safe and Holiday Happy!

ARTICLE BY | Carrie Donahue, DVM

The holidays can be a magical time filled with family and friends. But, as wonderful as this time of year can be, it can also be perilous for your pet. Check out these tips to keep your dog healthy through all the festivities.

Tastes
Unfamiliar and potentially unsafe holiday food temptations can wreak havoc with your pet’s digestion. While you may be aware of obvious things to avoid like chocolate or foods sweetened with xylitol, guests may not be informed about what is safe for dogs. Perhaps you’re blessed with an Aunt Tilly or Uncle Henry who insists that dogs are fine with chicken bones and a little alcohol! This is when an extra measure of diligence comes in. If your pet will be out and about with your guests, insist on no sharing of table scraps or sweets, no matter how much your dog begs. Assure your guests that your dog is well cared for and that sneaking them treats can lead to a pup with an upset stomach during the festivities. Enlist another family member to help keep an eye on that situation if you can. Another tip: Watch out for toxic holiday plants like mistletoe, poinsettia, and holly. Also, don’t allow your dog to drink the water from your tree holder since it can contain pesticides and bacteria.

Sights
Like you, your dog might be marveling at the twinkling lights on your holiday tree. But make sure to anchor your tree to ensure it won’t tip over or fall due to a curious pet. It’s also wise to tuck extra power cords out of the way to prevent tripping (human and canine!) and discourage chewing. And make sure to put any candles and breakable décor out of your pet’s reach. It can be all too easy for Fido’s tail or paw to knock over a lit candle or fragile decoration in a fit of excitement.

Sounds
New Year’s is a celebratory time. But, whether you’re ringing in the New Year with noisemakers or firecrackers, it can be terrifying for your furry friend. Help keep your dog calm by providing a quiet retreat if possible so they can feel safe. Adding some white noise or turning on the TV may also be helpful. Simply removing your dog from the situation and settling them in a comfy place, complete with fresh water and a soothing toy, may be enough to relax your pet during any holiday upheaval.

Sidebar:
What kid doesn’t want a puppy for Christmas? But be aware that the holidays are not an ideal time to bring a new pet into your home. If your heart is set on adding a dog to the family, wait until after the holidays. In the meantime, you can wrap up a picture of a puppy and tuck it under the tree to let the family know that their new best friend will arrive after the season.

Sidebar:
The Perfect Supplement for Nervous Pets
The sights and sounds of the holidays, as well as holiday travel, can make for a very stressed pup! Fortunately, you may be able to provide your dog with some supplemental relief. In a clinical study on animals, a specifically cultivated root extract of Echinacea angustifolia (EP107) showed the ability to keep the animals relaxed without drowsiness. Enlist the help of the supplement Calming Formula™ from Terry Naturally® Animal Health to encourage tranquility anytime your dog needs the help. The recommended dosage is 20-40 mg.

References:
Haller J, Freund TF, Pelczer KG, et. Al. The anxiolytic potential and psychotropic side effects of an Echinacea preparation in laboratory animals, and healthy volunteers. Phytotherapy Research. 2013: Jan;27(1):54-61


ABOUT | Carrie


Carrie Donahue, DVM, is a holistic veterinarian and owner of Full Circle Holistic Veterinary Care in Madison, WI. Her mission is to improve the lives of companion animals by empowering pet owners to use a common-sense, holistic approach to health and well-being.