Walking in a winter wonderland of waving Santas, prancing reindeer and swirling snow globes may seem like paradise to us but it can feel like a battleground to a nervous pooch. Remember when dealing with a Nervous-Nellie introduce new, scary, stimuli slowly and with a lot of patience and praise. To keep your dog under the threshold of having a freak-out, we want to start changing your dog’s association to new the items. The secret: start well in advance of his anxiety, try to anticipate things that will be stressful, and reward and praise your dog profusely as you approach and pass the item. You should be as jolly as a little elf yourself, praising your dog for bravery as you pass. Your happy body language is key to building your dogs confidence. Remember if you are tense yourself that communication transmits down the leash and only feeds your dogs anxiety. My rule of thumb is if I don’t feel silly and over the top I’m not doing it right!
Ultimately if your pet ever starts to really react negatively to an item and you can’t divert their attention, do the emergency u-turn and give them some space. Let them sniff the object while you praise like crazy, and never force your pet or drag them over to “meet” something scary.
Of course you want to include your furry companions in the festivities, but as you celebrate this holiday season, try to keep your pet’s eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible. And to keep your pet safe and decking the halls for years to come, the ASPCA has the following great tips for pet holiday safety:
O Christmas Tree Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible 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 decide to drink it, so discourage this behavior. You may even have to barricade the bottom of the tree area so that curious pets don’t make the tree dish their own personal drinking fountain. Or worse yet, decide you brought the outhouse into your house, and mark the tree!
Some pups love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.
No Feasting for the Furries
By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising pooch 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.
Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Choose gifts that are safe.
- Dogs have been known to tear their toys apart and swallowing the pieces, which can then become lodged in the esophagus, stomach or intestines. 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. I recommend staying away from un-processed rawhide.
Forget the Mistletoe & Holly
Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies, can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.
Leave the Leftovers
Fatty, spicy and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills.
That Festival of Lights
Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!
Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth.
If your animal-loving guests would like to give your pet 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. Keep a lot of fun toys on hand so that dogs can be encouraged to fetch a toy and not mouth a guest. Go-get-the-toy is a great distraction for a dog that loves to jump on guests as they enter and hasn’t perfected his sit-to-greet.
Put the Meds Away
Make sure all of your medications are locked behind secure doors, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.
Careful with Cocktails
If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.
A Room of Their Own
Remember your normally quiet home may have a lot more hustle and bustle than usual. 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, in their carrying case or in a separate room away from the hubbub.
New Year’s Noise
As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a dog’s intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears.
Take into consideration all these tips and your holiday season is sure to be merry and bright for all the members of your family!!!
This article taken directly from the ASPCA website at : http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/pet-care-tips/holiday-safety-tips.aspx