APBC’s Complete Guide to Holiday Sanity with your DOG

Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town and all the relatives too, Don’t let your dog end up on the Naughty List.

If you want your pup to stay off Santa’s Naughty List, then remember, it’s the Season when your dog needs protection from kids and over-exuberant adults and some special holiday planning on your part.

Holiday Safety Tips for Dogs

🎅There are no “days off” or “Holiday’s” for dogs!!!  Pups and dogs need appropriate outlets for their energy, even when you are in a busy season.  Plan on little spurts of focused work together: Go out and play for 15 minutes, walk nicely to the mailbox with a sit/stay, tether your dog to you as you get the house clean, then as you prep the holiday table have your pup work PLACE.  You get the idea of how to integrate work & exercise as you move throughout your day. And remember, you can be purposeful both inside and outside!

🎅Pups, immature or sensitive dogs need protection and rest from kids and over-exuberant adults.  The energy these people bring are exhausting to pooches, and they should only handle little spurts of time with them.  Don’t get me wrong, I know your pooch will be willing to be around them, probably more than they should.  Your pup just might hit that wired, over-tired, over-the-top, spun-out, sugary-high, kind of behavior.  So keep those times together short!

🎅Create ‘quiet/safe’ times away from the kids and over-exuberant adults throughout each day this holiday season by putting your dog away in an expen or crate in a quiet part of the house at least two times a day for about an hour or two.  I like feeding dogs in their crates during these busy times.  And once the party gets started be sure to have your dog put away safely in their quiet space.

Christmas Trees and Puppies

🎄Your tree can be a magnet for a dog so a great tip for securing the tree is to secure a fish line to the tree to a ceiling plant hook.  No one will be the wiser that your tree is safe from toppling over!  Avoid allowing your dog to drink the tree water–it’s a breeding ground for bacteria that can cause havoc to your dog’s intestinal system.  

🎄You can put bells on the lower branches of your tree to alert you if your pooch is exploring where he shouldn’t be! Be sure to keep your breakable ornaments, tinsel, strings, on the lower branches of your tree.  

🎄Holly, Mistletoe, Lilly’s  and Poinsettias are for LOOKING AT, NOT for EATING…. Holiday plants, though gorgeous, can cause gastrointestinal upset, vomiting and diarrhea. Poinsettias, though not poisonous,  contain a milky irritant sap,” says Dr. Lisa Murphy, associate professor of toxicology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. “The sap can cause some mild discomfort.” Research shows no evidence of long-term effects from eating poinsettias.  Mistletoe and Holly are toxic to dogs. Many varieties of Lilies can cause kidney failure. 

🎄Don’t Leave Lit Candles anywhere a dog can knock it off, lick it or bump into it.  Keep potpourri oils up high where dogs cannot lick them. 

🎄Electrical Cords for Christmas lights are not well insulated and very easy to chew, so keep those cords covered!  Electric lights and batteries can be punctured and those things can deliver a shock or cause a burn.  Broken ornaments can damage your dog’s mouth and digestive tract. 

Holiday Foods that are Harmful to Dogs

🍗 Bones, spiced food, fats from hams and turkey can cause pancreatitis or intestinal blockages.  If your dog is a trash diver, keep those lids on tight!  

🎂 No Chocolate, sugar free foods sweetened with xylitol, raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts.  Best to keep the human food away from the dogs!!  

🥂 The only drink your dog should have access to is his water bowl!  Respiratory failure from consumption of alcohol is possible and could possibly result in death.  

Should you suspect your dog has ingested any suspicious product, immediately contact your local vet or ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Phone Number: (888) 426-4435 and also you can learn more about what is on the People food NO NO list.

Cold Weather Precautions for your Pup

❄️ Regular sidewalk salt can cause irritation to your dog’s paws.  Try using cat litter or pet-safe sidewalk products. If your dog does walk through salt be sure to wipe your dog’s paws when returning home.  

❄️Antifreeze is VERY toxic to dogs.  Worst news…it has a sweet taste and remains liquid when other water sources freeze.  Symptoms initially seem the same as alcohol consumption but can quickly lead to a fatal outcome. 

❄️My general rule of thumb is if it’s too cold for you to be outside, then it’s probably too cold for your dog too!   Protect your dog’s paws like you would your own feet.  Get Paw Protectors and even a sweater depending upon the coat of your dog. 

❄️Be sure to keep fresh, unfrozen water sources available for your dog at all times. 

DOOR SAFETY & MANNERS for your dog

Now, more than ever, you need to be certain your dog does not bolt out doors.  Keep a leash on your pup or dog and practice having them sit at the door when you open it.  Reward with a treat and gentle praise.  Remember doors are exciting so we want to inspire focus and calm at the door.  Another great option is to set a place bed near the door.  Get your dog to hop onto PLACE when the door knocks or door bell rings!   Reward door manners and place choices often!  Now is the time to be certain you have your ID tags clearly on and they are visible with your phone number and contact information.  Microchip your dog!  

Deliveries will be often during this season so be certain to keep your dog on a leash BEFORE you open the door!  Dogs are opportunistic and very quick-and capable of slipping out the door very quickly! 

👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 When your guests arrive, let’s encourage everyone to come into the house and lower the energy levels a bit BEFORE the dog is brought into the mix to say hello.  You must work polite meet and greet behaviors long before people arrive. Start practicing now.  Have your leash on, and GET IN FRONT OF YOUR DOG, with your dog behind you as you say hello to people.  Your dog learns how to wait and calm down, while your people lower the excitement level as well.  I only allow a gentle hello when both dog and human are in a calm state of mind. 


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