We are plunging into the cold, snowy months of winter, and it is definitely beginning to look like Christmas everywhere! It is a fun time for humans, but can be quite confusing to our four-legged friends. Dogs thrive on routine, and suddenly things seem to change, as they see the two-legs doing all sorts of weird things. Time management skills often become over-taxed as we rush around shopping, gift wrapping, and going to holiday activities, making it is easy to overlook our pets, so here are a few tips to help safeguard your dog’s happiness during the upcoming weeks of preparation and celebration:
- Christmas trees are full of potentially deadly dangers. Place your tree in a place where it can’t be easily knocked over by an inquisitive dog. Try to find an area by the wall or in a corner, out of the major traffic flow pattern of the house, and near an outlet so you don’t have to run electrical cords long distances. Choose safe ornaments…there are no totally pet-safe bulbs, as any ornament can be ingested and cause an intestinal obstruction, but fragile or glass ornaments should not be placed on the lower limbs, and hanging edibles on your tree is discouraged , unless you want your canine companion stealing cookies and candy canes while your back is turned. Tinsel and garlands, if eaten, can also cause intestinal obstructions that may require surgery. Dogs love to investigate, and don’t understand that presents are not toys for them. Consider storing the presents in a safe area until right before the holiday, and do not allow your pet access to the tree without supervision. (Some caregivers claim that Bitter Apple sprayed on the lower branches will deter most dogs, but it is better to limit access to the tree)
- Seasonal holiday plants can cause nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal upset, and even cardiovascular problems…. While serious complications aren’t likely, it is still best to keep them out of paws’ reach.
- Some popular holiday foods can be quite dangerous to pets, such as chocolate and cocoa, candy and sugarless gums that contain xylitol, yeast bread dough, and fruit cakes with raisins and currants. The fruitcake threat can be compounded if the cake is soaked in rum. Alcohol poisoning can potentially lead to seizures or respiratory failure. It is perfectly acceptable to ask guests to refrain from sharing human food and drinks with your pets.
- The holidays wouldn’t be the same without candles or menorahs, but remember to keep candles and liquid potpourri well out of the way of exuberant tails and inquisitive paws and noses. Leaving lighted candles and hot wax unattended can quickly become disastrous.
- Make sure that visitors know you have a dog, and that it is important to keep doors shut so he doesn’t get out. You may just want to provide a special quiet place with cozy blankets and fresh water, and a favorite toy or two when you are having a lot of people coming and going, and the festivities get hectic, just to keep everyone safe, secure and happy.
Santa’s Gift to Me by Jim Ness
What do you mean this isn’t my present…didn’t Santa wrap it for me?
His picture’s all over the paper, as plain as anyone can see.
I am sure it has my name on it, although the writing is hard to read.
And it smelled very familiar so I am sure it is all right for me to proceed.
You know I don’t have much patience; I’ll just peek to see what it is.
I really don’t want to wait til Christmas… I’ve already drooled on the ribbon,
And the paper got a little wet, but I am tired of waiting… Isn’t it Christmas yet?
If you feel overwhelmed with preparations for the holidays, focus on the true meaning of Christmas—Let love, kindness, and joy fill your heart. There will be no room left for stress. As you make time for your loved ones, both two legs and four legs, everyone will be blessed!