Christmas trees, outdoor lights, and parties galore — it’s safe to say that the holiday season is underway! This special time of year is filled with family, gifts, and gatherings, all of which may cause potential challenges for pet owners. Whether your pup is unsure about strangers, prone to run out an open door, or likely to eat food left on the table, it’s more important than ever that you keep an eye on them.
In today’s blog post, let’s consider five holiday safety tips for your pets.
1. Train your pet to respond well to doorbells and knocking.
It’s important to desensitize your dog to the sound of the doorbell and/or knocking prior to hosting a holiday soiree or overnight guests. For an easy training technique, have a friend ring the doorbell or knock on the door. Wait until your dog has stopped barking to answer it and reward them with a treat. If they begin barking again, ignore them until they’ve stopped. Practice for several minutes each day, and they’ll be ready for visitors in no time!
2. Secure the front and back doors.
If your furry friend tries to escape through every open door, use a baby gate or closed interior door to keep them away from any high-traffic entrances and exits. You can also use an ex-pen (a puppy playpen) to keep them in the room with you and your guests.
3. Pay attention to missing food.
As I mentioned in last month’s post about celebrating Thanksgiving with your pets, it’s important to be aware of foods that are and aren’t safe for your furry friends. For instance, things like garlic, broth, sweet potato soufflé, pumpkin pie, and cooked bones are not okay for your dog to consume. If you want to give them a holiday treat, a little bit of unseasoned cooked turkey, broccoli, carrots, or green beans is okay. For cats, offer them roasted sweet potatoes without skin, pumpkin, or cooked turkey.
One more thing to note: Don’t let your pets chew on Christmas tree branches, tinsel, or other decorations! Ingested pine needles or sharp materials may get lodged in the intestinal tract, causing an obstruction.
4. Create a quiet place for anxious pets.
If your pup easily becomes overwhelmed, it’s helpful to have a safe space with a few of their favorite things. Create a dog-ready room with a crate (if needed), bed, chew toys, bowl of water, and sound machine to hide any loud noises. You can include an old t-shirt or blanket with your familiar scent as well.
5. Keep your cats safe and secure too!
Unlike many dogs, your feline friends may want to avoid the action during the holidays. A safe space for them may include cat wall furniture (shelves) or cat trees for climbing, dim lighting, food, water, and a litter box. For kitties who enjoy play-attacking, try to squeeze in an hour of playtime with them on the day of your holiday plans to keep their interaction with guests to a minimum.
In case of an emergency, be sure to identify your closest 24/7 emergency veterinary clinic. Have the vet’s phone number handy along with the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435).
Let The Urban Dog Group help you with your real estate needs this holiday season. Contact Christine Elias at firstname.lastname@example.org.