Next to a turkey and stuffing, the best way to a happy Christmas is making sure your dog is well protected this holiday season. Here are five easy do’s to make life easier for you and your dog.
- Do remember dogs love routine and holidays throw routines off track. So have patience, be watchful and do what you can to what you can to keep to your dog’s regular schedule of feeding and walking.
- Do plan holiday decorations and niceties from a dog’s point of view. Don’t put trays of hors d’ouevres on the coffee table, or dishes of candies on side tables. Make sure candles are well out of the way of a wagging tail.
- Do share the bounty of a holiday dinner with your best friend — with care. A sprinkling of chopped white turkey meat without the skin over your dog’s regular meal is a special treat. Turkey skin with fat, dark meat turkey, gravy, stuffing — anything rich is an invitation to pancreatitis, a serious condition that could require a visit to the vet in the middle of dinner. Never feed your dog anything with onions or grapes in it. Nothing takes the Hallmark glow off a Thanksgiving dinner like a dog with an upset digestive tract.
- Do keep an eye on your dog and your guests. Guests arriving means open doors and an invitation for a dog to do some sightseeing. Not all guests understand dogs or are able to resist soulful, begging eyes. If you make the rules clear up front, it’s helpful to everyone. You can make it light and funny — “Fido is a born pirate. Don’t let him get away with it! He can only eat what we put in his bowl.” Or you can have healthy dog treats available and tell guests those are the only treats your dog can have. The key is to make your rules clear up front.
- Do create a safe, quiet time-out place if your dog gets overly excited. An overly excited dog can get anxious, snappy or too boisterous. Having a crate or a room with a door can help calm a dog down and lower stress levels. Be sure there’s water, a favorite toy or bedding to make it a comfortable space.
The holidays should be a time of bringing your loved ones and friends together with gratitude. Fido can certainly be part of that. Good planning and setting and communicating rules make it a much more joyful occasion for both Fido and guests.