Winter Holiday Tips
Updated: Sep 26, 2021
The winter holidays can be a fun time for us humans, but it actually can be a dangerous time for our four legged friends. Here are some tips to make the winter holiday season and the days leading up to it successful.
As you prepare for your guests, designate a family member to puppy duty for the holidays. Keep your puppy in a safe spot (such as a crate or ex pen) out of the kitchen/dining area. Use long lasting chews (ie: bully stick) or food dispensing toys (ie: stuffed frozen kong) to keep your puppy entertained while people are over.
Watch Your Festive Plants
Holiday plants can be dangerous and even poisonous to pets who decide to eat them. Keep them out of reach from your pets.
Pet Proof Your Home
Use a space heater with caution around pets. They can get burned or can be knocked over, potentially starting a fire.
Watch Your Food and Your Trash
Keep toxic foods such as onions, xylitol (a sugar substitute) and chocolate out of reach. Keep the trash away from your pet's reach to prevent any accidents. If your pet eats something they shouldn't, call your Veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline 855-764-7661.
Watch Your Decorations
Keep any homemade ornaments, particularly those made from food-based materials, like salt-dough, out of reach of pets. Broken ornaments can cause injuries, and ingested ornaments can cause intestinal blockage or even toxicity. Tinsel and other holiday decorations can cause intestinal blockages.
Watch Your Christmas Trees
If climbed on, the tree could tip over. Consider tying your tree to the ceiling to a door frame using fishing line to secure it or block it off. Water additives for Christmas Trees can be hazardous to your pets. Do not add anything to the water for your tree if you have pets in the house.
Watch Your Candles and Lights
Candles are attractive to pets. Never leave a pet alone in an area with a lit candle. It could result in a fire. Electric lights can cause burns when a curious pet chews the cord.
Keep an Eye on Your Doors
With visitors coming to the house teach your dog door manners, crate them, use pet gates or ex pens to block the hall way leading to the door, or ask guest to use a double door (ie grange goes into laundry room). Always double check gates before letting your dog out, just in case.
Check Your Pet's Tags
Make sure your pet's tag is complete with up to date contact information and that your pet is microchip. More pets become lost in the winter than any other season because snowfall can disguise recognizable scents that would normally help them find their way home. Prevent your pets from becoming lost by keeping dogs leash while outside and not letting your cats outside.
Prepare for Cold Weather
Some dogs are more susceptible to the cold than others. Short coated, thin built, the elderly, or very young dogs get cold more quickly. Adjust the amount of time they stay outside. Use a sweater or jacket if needed.
With the cold weather, your pet may not be able to get the needed amount of exercise or mental stimulation. Add puzzles, games, and interactive toys to help tired your pet out. Dog Enrichment ideas
If your dog has log hair on the bottom of their feet, clip the hair to prevent snowball build up. The build up of snowballs can be painful and difficult to remove.
Trim nails regularly. In icy conditions, it can be difficulty to get your footing with long nails.
Wipe Your Pet's Paws
During winter walks, your dog's paws can pick up all sorts of toxic chemicals like salt, antifreeze, or de-icers. Make sure to wipe off your pet's paws and stomach when you return to prevent him from licking it off and becoming sick. When wiping off your pet's paws, remember to check for signs of injury, such as crack or bleeding paws.
Note: when purchasing de-icers, purchase pet-safe de-icers for your home or use cat litter for an extra level of safety.
Walking at Night
When walking in the dark, keep you and your dog safe by wearing reflective gear (clothing, leash, collar, etc) and keep your dog close when walking on the street.
The Honk Test
Outside cats and feral cats like to sleep in the wheel wells of cars during the cold months to keep warm. To prevent injury, honk your horn or bang on the hood before starting your car. This will wake up the cat and give it a chance to escape before starting the car.
Kathlyn Lawrence of All Jazzed Up Pet Services LLC is a Certified Professional Trainer (CPT) with years of experience training dogs and working with animals. For more information on our Pet Services please visit our website.