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Holiday Safety Tips For Your Dog

As a long time dog owner, rescue volunteer, and dog kennel owner, I have seen how tragic the holidays can be for the safety and well-being of family pets.  Every holiday, shelters see an influx of strays taken in.  24 hour vet hospitals become booked solid with emergency appointments.  Help your dog stay safe and happy this Christmas, and beyond, by following these tips!

1.      WATCH YOUR DOG AROUND OPEN DOORS- A big reason dogs go missing on holidays is due to the constant shuffle of people in and out of the homes of friends and family.  People coming into your house may not be used to your routine.  They don’t close the door all the way, or they linger too long so the dog slips out.  Keep in mind, a lot of commotion can be very nerve racking for a dog, so they may bolt even if that’s not something they usually do.  Always keep a close eye on your dog and the open door.  Better yet, designate a safe zone for your dog as people come in and out where he/she doesn’t even have access to any open doors. 


2.      KEEP PROPER IDENTIFICATION ON YOUR DOG- If your dog were to accidentally get out, the absolute best way for it to find its way back to you is by having your phone number on its collar!  An engraved tag works great, however, my favorite method is to simply take a permanent marker and write it right on my dogs’ collars.  The chances of an entire collar falling off are a lot less than a tag getting broken or falling off!


3.     MICROCHIP YOUR DOG- ID tags or collars are a great resource for keeping your dogs safe.  Microchipping is excellent as well as that microchip certainly can’t just fall out!  Any veterinarian can microchip your dog, plus many pet stores and shelters will offer microchipping clinics as well.  Just be sure to register the chip once it has been implanted!


4.     AVOID GIVING ANY HOLIDAY FOODS TO YOUR DOG- You will often see lists of “good” and “bad” foods to give your dogs on the holidays.  I hate to be a Scrooge, but I know every vet and vet tech out there will agree with me when I say- just don’t give your dogs any of it!  Perhaps spoil them with an extra dog treat you know they can eat, or better yet an extra walk or playtime.  Even foods that are considered “safe” for dogs may give your dog an allergic reaction you could never predict.  Trust me, the last thing you want to do is be sitting at an emergency vet hospital on Christmas because that turkey or potato you thought was “safe” for your dog ended up getting him/her sick!  The best way to make sure that doesn’t happen is to just not give that food in the first place!


5.     BE MINDFUL OF ALL THE “STUFF” LAYING AROUND- Christmas means presents, wrapping paper, and decorations that are not usually in our houses.  Be very careful to keep your dog away from all the hazards that could potentially hurt them or make them sick.  I’m thinking of ornament hangers, small pieces from your kids’ new toys, and candles that smell yummy, just to name a few.  Have your dog properly crate trained so that it can be isolated from those items when you are not at home, and be very diligent that he/she does not accidentally ingest one of these items that are laying about for the holiday. 

Having dogs, and kids, and special foods, and decorations, and lots of people over is certainly possible at the holidays!  Pulling that off successfully just means careful planning and monitoring from all members of the household.  With a little bit of extra attention, your four-legged family members can enjoy a safe, healthy and happy holiday season with you!

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