While the holidays are a time to share with family and friends, they are often stressful. This is not only true for you, but for your favorite pooch, as well. Each holiday comes with its own possible stressors, though many share similar traits. Making simple adjustments during the holidays can help reduce your dog’s stress and keep him safe while he enjoys the holidays by your side.
Whether it is Halloween with trick-or-treaters at your door or Thanksgiving and Christmas during which a whirlwind of friends and relatives make their appearance, the increase in numbers of people may intimidate a shy dog or over-stimulate an excited one. Provide a quiet room or location where the dog can retreat when he needs to. With the constant opening and closing of doors during Halloween, consider keeping your dog secluded in another room to reduce the risk of his sneaking past and getting lost. For holidays on which fireworks or other loud noises are possible, consider finding a quiet room to give your dog a safe retreat from the noise. The change in your dog’s normal routine can cause stress, as well, so try to keep his schedule as close to normal as possible.
With the holidays comes a variety of different decoration options, from Christmas trees to tinsel and plants to burning candles. When you introduce these decorations into your dog’s environment, it is natural for him to explore. Unfortunately, that innocent exploration can lead to health risks, such as intestinal blockage from eating items, poisoning from toxic plants or chemically treated Christmas tree water and cuts from broken ornaments. To reduce these risks, keep decorations out of your dog's reach, choose plants that are not toxic and consider flameless candles. Ensure your dog has fresh water available at all times to reduce the temptation of drinking the tree water.
With Halloween, costumes are commonplace, even for dogs. During other holidays, dressing up or wearing holiday costumes is also common. While your dog may look cute sporting that hot dog costume or wearing those reindeer antlers, not all dogs are comfortable with this. If your dog experiences discomfort or the costume hinders movement, let him wear it for a quick photo op and then remove it.
The holidays are times for sweet treats, candies and chocolate. While you may stress about the possibility of adding a few inches to your waistline, they can cause potentially fatal complications for your dog. Do not leave treats or candies where dogs can access them easily. Ask your guests not to feed people food to your dog when they visit as new foods can lead to stomach upset.
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