Christmas Health Tips for Dogs

First of all, have a great Christmas with the family & friends and try not to overdo it! I understand this is easier said than done and most of us feel guilty come January. Whether you have a new puppy or an older dog, the holidays may very well be a stressful time for him. While it is true that your dog doesn't need to worry about buying presents or traveling in bad weather, the excitement of the holiday can definitely be contagious, as can the stress! To make sure that your dog stays healthy and happy even during the most fervent of the Christmas cheer, you'll find that there are definitely steps that you need to take.

First, let's make sure that your dog's environment is healthy. The tinsel and fancy ribbons that are so popular can be a real choking hazard for your animals. Dogs and cats both love to chase string and having something dangling around can be an invitation to disaster. Similarly, make sure that you keep an eye on the string that is used to tie turkey or chickens. While we can't smell it, our animals certainly can, and they are going to be very interested in gulping down this tasty treat regardless of how bad it is for them. Ingesting string can require surgical removal, so be careful with it!

Another new and interesting thing that your dog is going to find hard to resist is the Christmas tree. It's new, it's shiny, and it smells strange so of course, they are going to want to investigate it. It can be a fairly large disaster if they end up knocking it over, especially if it is up and wired. Another thing to watch out for if you are using a live Christmas tree is the water that is used to nourish it. Make sure that the water is free of chemicals because there is a better than average chance that your dog will drink it when he can.

There are plenty of things that your dog can eat during the holidays that are bad for him, and we're not just talking about table scraps. Poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe are all variously toxic and should be kept away from your animals. Similarly, everyone should be discouraged from giving your dog chocolate. However, chocolate is toxic to dogs and can lead to problems including hyperactivity, heart issues, diarrhea, and vomiting. Be especially watchful around children, who will likely want to share their chocolate with the family dog.

Another thing that you should keep in mind is that dogs can be quite over-excited by the new people coming in and out. Small puppies who love people are going to go a little crazy trying to keep up with everyone, and older dogs that are more set in their ways might be very cranky about all the activity. Make sure that you do not neglect socializing with your dog on the holidays and remember that sometimes a little bit of time alone can be a relief for older animals. Be aware of your dog's mood.

The holidays are a lovely time to get together with your family, but remember to keep an eye on the four-legged members of the family as well. There are lots of things to keep in mind, so make sure that you know what the risks might be.

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