The holidays are here and dog lovers everywhere are eager to include their furry family members in the festivities. As you get ready for the holidays, it is important to try to keep your dog’s eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible. Also, please be sure to steer pets clear of the following unhealthy treats, toxic plants and dangerous situations.

Be Careful with Plants and Decorations

  • Christmas Trees: Be sure to anchor your tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing any injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria, and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe. Be sure to consider a cover to keep Fido from drinking the water or trying to knock it over.
  • Avoid Mistletoe & Holly: Holly, when ingested by your dog, can cause them to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause GI upset and cardiovascular issues. Your best bet is to opt for artificial plants made from silk or plastic.
  • Holiday Glow: Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Dogs can burn themselves or cause a fire if they accidentally knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And of course, if you leave the room, put the candle out!
  • Wires and Ornaments Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of your dog’s reach. Younger dogs are especially curious about the seasonal decorations and can get into trouble looking for things to chew on. Wires can deliver potentially lethal electrical shocks and shards of breakable ornaments can damage your dog’s mouth and digestive tract.

Beware of Holiday Food Dangers

  • Keep an Eye on the Sweets: By now you know not to feed your dogs chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising pet will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.
  • Leave the Leftovers: Fatty, spicy and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should never be fed to your furry friends. Your dogs can join the festivities in other fun ways that won’t lead to expensive medical bills.
  • Be Careful with the Cocktails: If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where your dogs can’t get to them. If alcohol is ingested, your dog could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.
  • Selecting Special Treats for your Best Friend: Looking to stuff your dog’s stockings? Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible.

Plan a Dog-Safe Holiday Get Together

  • If You’re Hosting, Exercise before your Guests Arrive. This will help your dogs de-stress and make them more likely to nap once the festivities are underway.
  • House Rules: If your animal-loving guests would like to give your pets a little extra attention and exercise while you’re busy tending to the party, ask them to feel free to start a nice play or petting session, if you know it won’t stress your dog too much.
  • A Room of Their Own: Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to—complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups might want to hide out under a piece of furniture or bed, or maybe in their favorite closet or out-of-the-way room to avoid any upsetting noises or chaos.

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