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The holidays are among us and while they can be an exciting time filled with family, friends, and travel, they can be stressful on our fur babies. It's important to prepare your house and your dog to best set them up for success. Here are some checkpoints to help make the holidays a safe and comfortable time for your pup.

  1. Maintain as much of their routine as possible. Try to feed and walk them at their usual time, even if traveling, to keep a sense of regularity.
  2. Practice basic training to prepare for guests and festivities. Have your dog wait or go to a specific area while people enter your house. Reinforce commands such as “leave it,” “sit,” and “wait.” Practicing before a holiday event will make sure that your dog is best prepared for the big day.
  3. Have a calm area set up for your pup. This should be an area where your pup feels comfortable and has access to water and a nice place to lay down. Having a place away from the noise and commotion of company is good back up in case your pup starts feeling stressed.
  4. Supervise guest interaction, especially with children. Children and dogs should never be left alone. Even if your dog is familiar with your guests and/or their children, they can react differently under stress and in an unfamiliar situation.
  5. Make sure all food/drinks are out of reach. Additionally, make sure your guests know not to feed your pup from their plate as it can cause upset stomachs and many human-holiday treats are not dog-friendly. You can have a stash of your pups go-to treats or kibble handy for guests to use instead.
  6. All candles should be out of reach. Not only can the scents be attractive to your pup to try and munch on, but knocking into a table with a lit candle can be a fire hazard.
  7. Wires should be out of reach or well secured to prevent chewing. PVC pipe is a great idea, especially for dogs that are known to chew/teeth.
  8. Secure your tree to prevent accidental falls. Additionally, make sure your pup cannot reach the water at the base of the tree which can contain fertilizers or other chemicals that are poisonous. Stagnant water can be a breeding ground for bacteria as well, which can cause upset stomachs.
  9. Tinsel, popcorn strands, and other garlands/decorations can be tempting to chew on but can cause major internal injuries/blockages if ingested. Mistletoe, holly, and many holiday lilies are poisonous if ingested. Make sure all are out of your pup’s reach.
  10. Choose pet-friendly toys for your fur baby - many dogs will rip toys apart and swallow pieces which can lead to choking and/or blockages. Opt for chew treats that are safely digestible or Kongs that can be stuffed with dog-safe treats!

We hope that everybody has a happy and safe howliday season!

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