We all want what’s best for our dogs this time of year. The weather and family gatherings can prove to be a challenge. We’ve asked our experts, what steps we can all take to keep our furry friends comfortable and safe. Here are a few tips from our training department.
General rule of thumb:
- If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them. Dogs can get frostbite too. Please keep them indoors during inclement weather conditions.
- Keep walks short, but try to provide them more frequently so they still get proper exercise.
- See if there are indoor tracks or facilities near you where you could walk the dog for exercise.
- Musher’s Secret is a good option to use on the dog’s pads for cold weather walking.
If you’ve walked the dog on surfaces that have been salted for ice, wipe their paws and in between toes upon coming inside. If they lick the salt off themselves it can make them ill and bother their feet.
You can choose to put an LED light attachment to the leash or collar for nighttime visibility and added safety for you both.
When visitors come over…
Dogs may not enjoy the hustle and bustle as much as humans do. If your dog does not enjoy a house full of humans, kindly let them be kenneled in a quiet part of the house for some downtime. Give them a Nylabone or kong to chew. The kennel can also be utilized during meal times. This is a safe place for the dog to be when unsupervised
Guide unfamiliar children through proper interactions with your dog. Some tips are:
- Let the dog sniff them first
- Pet the dog gently
- Refrain from hugging or pulling on the dog
- Keep the dog in an open space
- Always stay above the dog, don’t go face to face, put fingers near their mouth, etc.
- If the dog seems uncomfortable, respect their boundaries and remove the dog from the situation
Don’t allow the dog to jump on guests who arrive, and if necessary keep them on a leash or kennel them until things settle down. You can use the same guidelines for children’s interactions with your guests.
Be sure to give the dog plenty of exercise and walks before the festivities begin. Exercise is a big stress reliever for them. This can include mental stimulation as well. A well-exercised dog is usually a well-behaved dog.
Not So Tasty Treats and Festive Decor
This list is not all-inclusive. Be sure nobody feeds the dog any human food or food bones of any kind.
These common holiday foods can be toxic to dogs:
- Bread Dough
- Grapes & Raisins
- Macadamia Nuts
- Onions & Garlic
- Moldy food
- Xylitol (found in sugar-free foods), etc.
- BONES – Turkey and chicken bones are very dangerous to dogs. Make sure all bones are disposed of properly.
Keep trash cans and recyclables out of reach of the dog and or covered
If you wrap any food items as a present, be sure they are out of reach of the dog. They have excellent noses and a determined heart to get to food
Food on countertops and tables can be very tempting to dogs. Make sure to supervise the dogs when in the kitchen for counter surfing and move food out of the reach of dogs. Use the kennel to secure the dog during meal times if you are unable to watch them
They may look pretty and smell nice but holiday decorations can cause blockages or damage to dogs if ingested. Keep them out of their reach and if necessary, block access to the Christmas tree or other decorations. Some wreaths and greenery may have a preservative on them. Make sure the dog does not ingest any of these.