Who is Responsible for Dog Safety During the Holidays?
This is the time of year we fill our homes with holiday spirit. We surround ourselves with festive decorations, prepare delicious food and entertain our family and friends.
There’s glitter and lights and alcohol and noise and pretty presents so what could possibly go wrong?
In all the activities and distractions of the holiday season we may be exposing our dogs to hazards that we haven’t even considered as they are less commonly found other times of the year.
Dogs are curious by nature so all these shiny new additions to our homes provide our dogs with a lot more to investigate. This behavior could result in a range of outcomes, from minor mischief to major misadventures so Dog Safety needs to be high on the decorator’s list.
There are so many little things to look out for – some more obvious than others. Don’t wait till things start to go wrong. Prevention is better than cure!
However, if a cure is required, make sure you have your DIY Dog First Aid Kit handy.
Dog First Aid Kits
You can put your kit together DIY, or chose from some pre-made ones.
Just a quick word about fireworks.
We know that most dogs are scared of fireworks. However you may not be aware that Doggy Dan the Online Dog Trainer knows how to help a dog that is scared of fireworks. Watch this snippet of a video of Doggy Dan’s approach.
The presence of visitors can be anything from exciting and stimulating to totally scary for your dog. A change to your dog’s environment can be stressful so your dog may change his behavior and you need to watch out for this and act accordingly.
Here are a few Dog Safety tips and traps you should be aware of before the festivities begin.
Keep your dog’s regular routine of exercise, training, food and rest during the Holiday Season
You need to make sure your dog has a safe haven like a dog crate or other ‘time out’ space to escape to when visitors are in your home. This allows your dog to have some peace and solitude and prevents unwanted behavior should he become nervous or irritated by all the commotion. Make sure you provide your dog with fresh water in this space. To learn more about a safe haven, read our article on Crates for Dogs.
Don’t forget your dog’s toilet needs. Keep to the established routine as much as possible.
Make sure your visitors don’t feed your dog human food.
Place your visitors belongings like handbags and coats are placed out of reach of your dog. You don’t want your dog to be tempted by candies or chewing gum or medications that your visitors may have in their pockets or bags.
Noise levels may increase. Keep in mind that noisy poppers and whistles can terrify dogs. Just like fireworks so be sure you are both trained in how to behave. Doggy Dan the Online Dog Trainer shows you how in the video above.
And finally, you should train your dog to greet people in a pleasant manner.
The holidays are a perfect time to work on this, as a lot of people may be coming and going from your home.
Your dog should be socialized as early on as possible in their life. Training your dog is the most important DIY Dog Project you can undertake in your dog’s life. Doggy Dan the Online Dog Trainer has trained thousands of dogs and dog owners using gentle and non-aggressive methods, making the Holidays and other festive events a breeze.
How To Choose The Right Size Dog Crate
Dimensions for dog crates are typically represented by length (L), height (H) & width (W).
Length: Measure the length of your dog from nose to tail then add another 4 inches for comfort.
Height: Measure your dog from the top of the head to the ground and make sure you add ears into the measurement if your dog normally has erect ears.
Extra Small Crates
Dog weight: Between 1 lb. to 10lbs.
Breed Examples: Chihuahua, Shih Tzu, Yorkie, Papillon, Havanese plus others.
Dog Weight: Between 11 lbs. and 25 lbs.
Breed Examples: Jack Russell Terrier, Maltese, Pug, Boston Terrier plus others
Dog Weight: Between 26 lbs. and 40 lbs.
Breed Examples: French Bulldog, King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, Miniature Schnauzer, Welshie plus others.
Dog Weight: Between 41 lbs. and 70 lbs.
Breeds: Bulldog, Labrador, Boxer, Australian Shepherd plus others.
Extra Large Crates
Dog Weight: Between 71 lbs. and 90 lbs.
Breed Examples: Rottweiler, Dalmation, Collie, Golden Retriever plus others.
Dog Weight: 90 lbs. and up
Breed Examples: Great Dane, Mastiff, St. Bernard, Irish Wolfhound plus others.
The Christmas Tree
The Christmas tree is a potential minefield of dangers for your dog. The first precautionary step for Dog Safety is to secure your Christmas tree so it can’t be tipped over. Placing the tree in a corner, away from your dog’s eyes, would add some further protection from accidents.
Your choice of Christmas tree – artificial or “live” – will further determine the Dog Safety steps you need to take to protect your dog.
The “Live” Tree.
There are additional hazards with the choice of a “live” tree over an artificial tree which includes the presence of pine needles, chemical preservatives that may have been used to keep the tree longer, natural oils that are produced by fir trees and the accessibility to stagnant water that’s been used to keep the tree alive. These could all be ingested causing internal issues for your dog so for dog safety it is essential to keep your dog away from the tree, or keep the tree protected from your dog.
Use a tree skirt, aluminium foil, or plastic wrap to cover up the water bowl so your dog doesn’t drink from it.
These can get stuck in paws so vacuum daily.
Hang it out of your dog’s reach. Although it’s not necessarily toxic, it can bunch up and cause internal issues like blockages in your dog.
Place high up and out of your dog’s reach.
Decorative lights are another attraction for dogs to chew on, or get tangled up in, so hang them out of your dog’s reach.
Hang them out of your dog’s reach. Your dog could choke on them or break them causing some other injury.
Edible tree decorations.
Macaroni angels, candy canes, popcorn and marshmallow tinsel, and candied orange peel are best avoided altogether as your dog may smell these and be tempted to reach for them. This may cause the added danger of the tree falling.
Place them high, way out of reach of your dog to prevent burns.
You don’t have to give up the joy of your tree and its decorations, you just need to consider Dog Safety.
Consider using child gates across doorways to keep your dog away from the Christmas tree and the decorations at times when your dog cannot be watched or hasn’t been trained yet.
Of course, prevention is better than cure and training your dog is the best option.
Plants bring color and life into the home so they are a natural ‘go-to’ for the Holidays.
There are some plants which may be toxic to your dog. These include Mistletoe, Lilies, Daffodils, and Amaryllis (also known as Belladonna).
According to the College of Veterinary Medicine at WSU, poinsettias are not toxic but they do contain a milky sap that can irritate the mouth. If any signs do develop after ingestion they are usually mild.
There are many species of holly berries and leaves which can be a problem if ingested.
The ivy that tends to be used in wreaths and decorations can cause your dog a tummy upset when ingested. Where there is significant or prolonged skin contact, it can also cause both irritant and allergic contact dermatitis.
It may be the pesticides with which the plants have been treated that are toxic so it’s best to place all plants where they will be out of your dog’s reach.
Please click on the Link for an Information Sheet Detailing a List of Plants that are Poisonous to Dogs which you can PRINT and keep handy for easy reference.
Alternatively, consider bringing in artificial plants – they’ll last longer, save you money and avoid possible harm to your dog.
The materials used for wrapping presents like wrapping paper, crepe paper, ribbons, string, plastic, adhesives, glue and scissors can be a hazard to your dog so keep them off floors or low tables for Dog Safety. Your dog may see some of these as “chew” toys.
Consider the gifts that you are wrapping too. Place any tasty or tempting presents (boxes of chocolate) out of the reach of your dog helping himself. Small packets of silica gel can often found in the packaging of new shoes, handbags, cameras or electrical equipment so place these gifts away from investigate dogs.
Check electrical cords on lights. Electrical shock may occur from defective cords as well as from dogs chewing on them.
Improve Dog Safety by taping down all exposed wires and cables so your dog can’t get wrapped up in them.
Be careful not to leave foods sitting around on low tables while people chat and drink. Keep them out of reach of your dog for Dog Safety. To learn more about which foods can be hazardous to your dog, read our article on DIY Dog Treats.
Dispose of leftover food and keep it out of the reach of your dog. The food may include ingredients that is toxic to your dog. Mould in leftovers (including yoghurt, bread and cheese) can produce toxins that may be harmful to your dog.
Prevention is better than a cure so training your dog not to take food scraps is a better alternative. Watch Doggy Dan the Online Dog Trainer train a dog to stay out of the kitchen and out of harms way.
Click to learn more about Doggy Dan the Online Dog Trainer.
Other Possible Risks to Your Dog
Fire. Always keep a fire screen over an open fire especially if your dog likes to lay in front of it. Flying sparks can burn your dog.
Potpourri. When eaten, potpourri can cause significant gastrointestinal effects in dogs.
Cigarettes. Nicotine is toxic to dogs. And cigarette butts are especially dangerous so it’s important not to leave any ashtrays or butts in reach of dogs. Replacement patches and e-cigarette refills can also pose a risk.
Batteries. All batteries are potentially toxic. Chewing a battery and piercing it can cause chemical burns and heavy metal poisoning. When swallowed whole it is possible they will cause an obstruction.
Antifreeze. Ingestion of Antifreeze is very dangerous. Because it is sweet-tasting and very palatable dogs find it easy to keep licking it. Avoid antifreeze poisoning with a few simple precautions:
Keep antifreeze containers tightly closed and stored out of the reach of pets. And dispose of unused containers properly.
Immediately, and thoroughly, clean up any spilled antifreeze.
Check the radiator of your car regularly, and repair leaks immediately. Do not allow your dog to wander unattended where there is access to antifreeze (e.g., roads, gutters, garages, and driveways).
To keep your dog safe from antifreeze poisoning use only antifreeze with the U.S.F.D.A. approved ingredient of propylene glycol.
Dog First Aid Kits
You can put your kit together DIY, or chose from some pre-made ones.
Dogs as Gifts
Owning a pet is a long-term commitment that not everyone can, or is willing to, make. A cute, cuddly puppy is not necessarily the perfect Christmas gift. A dog is not a toy. Take a look at our Puppies for Sale and you will see why this makes sense.
Training is Always the Answer
At DIY Dog Projects we think that teaching your dog good behavior is the most important and most rewarding project you can do for, and with, your dog. We hope this article has helped to get you thinking about what you can do to keep dogs safe. Click on the Doggy Dan the Online Dog Trainer link below and let him be your guide. Happy Holidays!