The holidays are an exciting time for friends and family, but they can be stressful or even physically harmful to your dog if you are not careful. To make sure your dog makes it through the holiday unscathed, follow these simple tips for keeping your dog healthy.
1. Watch for signs of stress.
Dogs usually enjoy the company of their people, but they do not have the ability to understand sudden changes to the dynamic of the house, and they also will struggle with the intense attention of visitors. If you have family coming, especially families with young children, try to look for signs of stress that indicate your dog needs some time alone. Kenneling your dog during big social gatherings is not cruel; on the contrary, it helps your dog to regain a sense of belonging and security. Retreating, aggression, potty accidents, and hiding are all signs your dog has had too much exposure to strangers or too much stimulation for a house full of festive activity.
2. Save the people food for people.
One of the dangers of the holidays is the prevalence of treats and feasts. If you have guests, those people may want to sneak your dog some treats, and you might even give in because it's a special occasion. Some foods are just fine. turkey, small pieces of ham, or a piece of roast squash is perfectly fine for a dog.
But some other foods are poisonous to dogs. Onions and garlic (cooked or raw), raisins, chocolate, and most nuts are dangerous for dogs. Never allow your dog to chew on chicken or small turkey bones.
3. Don't neglect routine.
Dogs are creatures of habit, and they find comfort in their routines. When the holidays roll around, they can become confused when walks are skipped or mealtimes are delayed. Even though you may need to adjust things slightly because of special holiday plans, try to provide for your dog like your normally would, at relatively the same time of day. Do not skip walks, even if they do end up happening at a different time of day than usual.
4. Protect against the effects of cold weather.
Finally, cold weather can have a negative effect on your dog. The dry winter air can make their skin and coat dry. Try to humidify your home, and try to keep your dog's coat moist, even when you get busy with holiday preparations and shopping. When you go out for walks, consider providing boots and sweater to help your dog stay warm when the weather is very cold.
For more information, contact your local veterinarian.