When we first opened up our Christmas decoration boxes this year — filled with ornaments, string lighting and gift wrap — our Olde English Bulldog came trotting over and immediately stuck his nose into the box. Meaty loves the holidays, just like we do. However, his curiosity worries me sometimes. Although he’s generally well behaved and doesn’t get into much trouble around the house, the holidays bring lots of excitement, with new smells, new people and new items to sniff.
Around this time of year, we often have clients asking us for advice on how to keep their pets safe during the festivities. Meaty’s interest in our decorations helped to inspire these pet-friendly tips to have a safe Christmas this year:
Doggie-Safe Decor: Do’s and Don’ts
Puppies and pets that like to chew can get into trouble when it comes to loose electrical cords around your home. Keep an eye out for frayed and chewed cords around your Christmas tree and areas where you have decorated with festive string lighting to ensure that your pet hasn’t been nibbling on the wires.
The shiny tinsel dangling from your tree can pose a risk to your pet. If ingested, tinsel can bunch up inside your pet’s intestines. If you think your pet has ingested tinsel seek veterinary care immediately.
When you’ve decorated your home with seasonal flowers and foliage, be sure that your selections are pet-friendly. Poinsettias, mistletoe, holly and pine needles are all hazardous to pets. ASPCA recommends several plants that are not poisonous to dogs. These pet-friendly holiday florals include red lilies and camellias.
To avoid consumption or a big mess, consider placing your festive holiday flowers on out-of-reach tabletops and countertops.
To keep your dog on her best behavior while you’re hosting guests, be sure to tire her out with lots of play before you begin entertaining in your home. Take frequent walks to keep her low key. Puzzle games are another great way to keep your pooch occupied while your guests are visiting.
Remind your dog of the rules and boundaries within your home. There are many temptations, especially in the kitchen around Christmastime, so take this opportunity to reward good behavior and redirect them to something more desirable when it’s deserved.
The holiday season can be a stressful time for your pet. She’s meeting new people and experiencing new smells and sounds.
Keep your dog warm and cozy this winter with a new bed. Most pets sleep 12 to 14 hours each day, according to Pets Adviser. And puppies can sleep up to 18 hours each day.
With all of that sleeping, a pet bed will be a good investment for your pup. Beds range in style from mats to tiny, replications of human furniture, but you can’t go wrong with a soft bed lined with sheep wool. Some retailers even offer doggie beds made with memory foam to help relieve joints. These types of beds are great for older dogs.
Rawhide bones are always a hit around the holidays. Stuff a stocking full of these treats for your pup. When your pet is gnawing away on her new rawhide bone, she’s relaxing and alleviating all of her stress. Rigorous chewing also helps keep her teeth clean; keeping her dental health in tip-top shape.
If you want to treat your dog to something special every month, consider a membership to BarkBox. Simply select a dog size, choose a plan and you’ll receive a box full of doggie goodies each month. Some of the items include toys, bones, hygiene products, all-natural treats and more. Plus, 10 percent of the BarkBox profits help dogs in need.