It’s that time of the year!  Time for joyous celebration, shopping, overeating, overdrinking, visiting relatives, crowds, traffic, the inability to decide what to buy for Aunt Betty, the sudden realization that what you bought for Aunt Betty won’t work at all, and, finally, the overwhelming need for a nap.

So the last thing you want is to worry about your canine buddy during the holiday commotion. Here’s a quick review of what you can do to keep Fido safe while you’re quite possibly losing your mind trying to get everything done before Grandma arrives for the holiday festivities.


  1. The Christmas tree.  Make sure the tree is secure so that your boisterous dog can’t knock it over.  Some dogs will eat anything so avoid edible or breakable (glass) decorations.  For those of you with a particularly curious dog who is compelled to explore new things, place an x-pen around the tree to prevent access. Or, if you want to remove any temptation for your dog, skip decorating the bottom of the tree.  Don’t let your dog drink the tree water (it harbors bacteria which can make your dog sick) or eat pine needles (they could puncture your dog’s intestines if ingested).
  2. Plants.  Yes, they are pretty but did you know that holly, mistletoe, poinsettia and lilies are poisonous for your pets?  Consider using artificial plants instead.
  3. Candles. Do you have a dog with a wagging tail like a whip? Place the lit candles out of reach so they can’t get knocked over.  And, a gentle reminder to never leave your lit candles unattended.
  4. Electrical wires, cords and batteries.  Oh, those dogs who love a good chew. Sigh. Since no one wants their dog to get an electric shock (or electrocuted), tape the wire to the floor or wall and/or spray the cord with Bitter Apple to discourage chewing. And, keep those batteries out of dog’s reach.
  5. Food and beverages.  I know the holidays bring out the spirit of generosity but this isn’t the time to share your food with your pooch. Here’s the stuff to keep all to yourself: candy, chocolate, caffeine, fatty leftovers, vegetables such as onions, shallots, chives, garlic, leeks and scallions, and fruits like raisins and grapes. And, as much as we all like to toss the dog a bone, please remember cooked turkey bones can splinter and be a choking hazard.  Finally, keep an eye on the booze.  Alcohol can be very harmful to dogs. Please note that the list of poisons is not comprehensive.  Follow your vet’s advice.


The holidays can be stressful for everyone and that includes your dog.  Try to keep their routine as normal as possible. It may be somewhat inconvenient to fit everything in but walks, playtime, and mealtimes are important to your pooch. Don’t overlook the importance of sleep for your dog either. Provide a quiet retreat so they can escape the holiday madness should the need arise.


And who knows? Before its all said and done, you might want to carve out a little space and snuggle up for a nap right next to your dog.



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