Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Tips to Help Keep Your Dog Happy and Stress Free During the Holidays

December 20, 2013

I wasn’t going to write a holiday pet post since everyone else is doing the same thing. But Ryan Novas offered to write one for me and this is a great article:

Cat Under Christmas Tree

With all of the visitors, travel, food and general stress that can come along with the holidays, they can be hard on a person, so just imagine what all of this is like for a dog who doesn’t even understand what is going on!  Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take that may help your dog deal with all the stress and stay happy.  From keeping your pet away from ornaments and wrapper paper, to keeping them on their routine, here are 5 things you can do to help keep your pet happy through the holidays.

1. Keep your dog away from the Christmas trees and presents

Bows, bells and boxes might mean presents and ornaments to us, but for a curious dog, these may just be things to explore and chew on.   Maybe you spent an eternity picking out the the perfect pair of dog slippers and then wrapped them up.  However, it may only take your furry friend just a second or two to tear off the wrapping paper and turn them into their newest chew toy. You may want to keep the room with the tree and presents off limits to the dog until everything has been cleaned up and put away.

2. Keep your dog on his or her routine

With everyone zipping around from one party to another, cooking, eating, and shopping, it can be hard to keep a schedule.  Despite this, keeping to your dog’s normal routine can help bring a little bit of normalcy back into their lives.  Try to make sure you are still feeding and walking your dog at the same time every day, as the familiar structure can be a relief to them in times when they may be feeling ignored.

3. Have a plan for when guests arrive

Some dogs are terrific with guests, and others aren’t.  You probably know which one yours is, and acting accordingly may save everyone human and canine plenty of stress .  If your dog is just jumpy around guests, take them for a walk, play fetch, and get them tired out beforehand.  If this isn’t enough to keep your dog on his or her best behavior, you should probably just have him or her secured in another room with a closed door before anyone sets foot in your home.

4. Let guests know the rules for your dog

Just like it is important for your dog to be on his or her best behavior around the guests, it can also be important to let your visitors know what is and isn’t ok to do with your dog.  This can mean letting adults know it isn’t ok to share bits of food with your dog during the holiday feast, or letting kids know not to pull puppy tails.  Taking these preventative steps may help make everything go smoothly and safely for your dog during the holidays.

5. Give them something special

Even if you follow all of the above steps, your dog may still get stressed out during the holidays.  So, why not show a little compassion and holiday spirit by doing something special for them?  Maybe give your furry friend that extra treat, a long belly scratch, a new dog toy or invite their friend along to the dog park.

Maya Playing with Killer's Toy 4

Maya is never short on toys to play with.

Even though most people consider the holidays something to look forward to, they can also be stressful.  Fortunately, there are plenty of steps you can take to make them easier for your dog.   From keeping them out of areas with sparkly lights and gifts that can become chew toys, to letting your guests know what is and isn’t ok, these tips should help you to keep your dog and happy and safe through the holidays.

Alternatives to Giving a Pet as a Gift

December 16, 2013
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Christmas Puppy

Puppy for Christmas?

The original article was paraphrased from an article I posted here previously and rewritten on PetAutoSafetyBlog. It was a good article and worth repeating. Pets are great, but they may not be the best Christmas gifts. Here is why and what you can do instead of giving a puppy or kitten instead:

Picking out a Pet is a Family Event
If you are considering giving your child or loved one a puppy or kitten for Christmas, consider giving a gift certificate or a promise note instead. This way the entire family can get together and decide which pet is perfect for everyone. If done after Christmas, this will also help all the pets which have ended up in the shelter because they were given as gifts and not wanted. This happens more often than you think so waiting until the entire family is ready and can decide together helps both your family and the pets that found themselves homeless.

Picking out a Pet is a Personal Experience
You wouldn’t go pick out someone else’s wedding dress, would you? The puppy or kitten you think is perfect may not be the ideal pet for the person you are picking it out for. Even if that person described every detail about what they want in a pet, it’s like finding the perfect wedding dress – the right pet is chosen based not just on a description but also on emotion. Also, that person may not really be ready for a pet. By giving a promise note instead, they can choose when the time is most right for them. The holidays are already overwhelming. It might be best not to overwhelm things more with a little fur-ball of mischief.

Give a Stuffed Animal with a Promise Note Instead
If you know for a fact that a certain person really wants a puppy or kitten for Christmas, giving a stuffed one along with a promise note instead is a very creative idea. This allows them to pick out a real live pet themselves and you have still given a gift on that very special day.

Give a Donation in Someone’s Name
Now that you know how many pets are abandoned after the holidays because people weren’t really ready for them, you can give homeless pets and a person you care about a gift by donating in their name to a shelter or rescue group. If someone you know lost a pet recently, giving the gift in their pet’s name is an even better idea.

Promise to Volunteer
If a good friend or family member wants a pet but you are concerned a pet may be too much for them to handle, give the gift of agreeing to volunteer at an animal shelter together. This way, the person can see how much work is involved in caring for a pet. They might discover they don’t really want a puppy or kitten after all, or they might find out they are allergic to animals. Also, if the person doesn’t have time to get together with you, this might be a sign that they wouldn’t have time for a puppy or kitten either.

Please don’t buy a pet for Christmas this year. Consider the above alternatives instead and save one of the animals who were given up because someone wasn’t ready.

Practicing Pet Safety for the Holidays

December 13, 2011

There is so much going on around Christmas time. Things may even get a little chaotic. But don’t forget about your dog or cat. Be sure to practice pet safety for the holidays by being aware of and reducing certain dangers.

Christmas Tree
The Christmas tree itself probably isn’t much of a danger. Just be careful your dog or cat doesn’t knock it down. Cats may like to climb the tree. The ornaments on the Christmas tree could be an issue with your pet. If you have a pet, it is probably not a good idea to have food like popcorn string decorating your tree. If your dog likes to chew, keep tinsel, ornaments, and Christmas lights out of his reach. Be especially careful of glass ornaments. Cats and dogs alike may try to play with them and hurt themselves.

Holiday Decor
Plants like poinsettia, holly, and mistletoe are poisonous. Consider imitation plants instead or keep the plants out of reach of your pets. Other holiday decor which could be dangerous is candles. A dog with a wagging tail may accidentally knock over a lit candle and a cat may accidentally walk by a lit candle and catch his tail on fire. Also be careful of holiday decor which may be enticing to your pet as a toy. Cats love to play and although there may not be much danger in that, some decor can get broken and cut someone. Small children may pick up what your cat knocked over. Dogs may mistake some decor, such as stuffed snowmen or santas, as chew toys.

Christmas Presents
Keep small Christmas presents out of reach. Cats may play with them and unintentionally break the gift. Dogs may chew them. Especially keep stockings with candy and small toys out of reach. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs and other candy may upset his stomach. Small toys may be mistaken as chew toys. Your dog may accidentally ingest one and choke or get it lodged in his intestines which may require an emergency surgery to remove it.

Christmas Dinner
Much holiday food is not good for your pet. Do not give your dog turkey or ham bones. Other holiday foods may have spices and fats which will upset your dog’s stomach. Cookies and other sweets could also upset your dog’s stomach. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs and macadamia nuts may be as well. Also, if you serve hors d’oeurves for a Christmas party, be sure all the toothpicks are picked up and thrown away. Or don’t use toothpicks at all. This could be very bad for your dog if he tries to chew one. And one last thing about holiday food – be sure to throw leftovers and bones in the outside trash or in a trash can which your dog can’t get into.

Holiday Visitors
The people you invite to your home probably are not a danger to your pets. Otherwise you wouldn’t have invited them, right? But with all the visitors going in and out, they may not be used to pets and may accidentally let them out. Or they may accidentally leave a door open. It only takes a moment for a pet to slip through and go outside to explore. Be sure your guests are all aware of where the pets are and are not allowed. Let your guests know about any issues, such as a dog liking to bolt and not coming when called or a cat being sneaky and squeezing out the door. If you know that one of your pets has this issue, consider keeping him confined to certain areas of the house only. For example, use a pet gate to keep him away from the entryway to the front door. Also make sure your pets are wearing their collars and id tags for in case they do get out.

Young children may also be a danger to pets and vice versa. Make sure children and pets are supervised. Young children may not understand that they are doing something to hurt your pet. If your pet growls or gives warning, a child may not understand what that means and it could lead to the child being bitten.

So for a quick re-cap, beware of holiday items which your pet may break, chew, or knock over. Be careful about your pet eating poisonous holiday plants, candy, or other holiday foods. And make sure your pets are secured indoors and are supervised with children. Puppies and kittens can be especially vulnerable since they have not had much training yet and may be enticed by all the new things and new people around.

Be safe and have a Merry Christmas!

The Twelve Shelter Dogs of Christmas

December 10, 2009

We have modified a great Christmas song to our own shelter dog version.  The Twelve Days of Christmas is now The Twelve Shelter Dogs of Christmas.

On the first day of Christmas,
The shelter adopted out a puppy:
A great dog with a mixed pedigree.

On the second day of Christmas
The shelter adopted out a puppy:
Two Beagle loves,
And a great dog with mixed pedigree.

And so on with the final verse as follows:

On the twelfth day of Christmas
The shelter adopted out a puppy:
Twelve Setters sitting,
Eleven pointers pointing,
Ten Chows a-wagging,
Nine poodles prancing,
Eight hounds a-baying,
Seven Labs a-swimming,
Six Pugs a-playing,
Five Golden Retrievers,
Four bird dogs,
Three French Poodles,
Two Beagle loves,
And a great dog with mixed pedigree.

(c) Dawn Ross 2009

Seriously, though… adopting a dog is the best way to go, but be sure you are ready for a new pet. Don’t adopt a dog just because it is Christmas. Adopt a dog because you are ready and you plan on making this dog a permanent member of your family.