The Holiday season is an especially challenging one for our K9 companions. Distractions abound, opportunities exist for mischief, tasty but not always safe or healthy food is abundant and quite often a little too available. Neighbors and family coming and going provide the opportunity to run out of the door for an exuberant greeting that sometimes leads to injury. Basically it’s the Silly Season for our dogs too! So how do we help our little (or big) buddies to manage some of the more common challenges? Let’s take a look!
New or unusual sights or sounds
Does Santa visit your house or your neighborhood? Does your house look like a replica of the North Pole? Gradual introduction to new faces and strange/lighted decorations is the key to helping your furry friend adjust. Introduce lighted or sound making decorations in the “off” position. Allow your dog to approach at his/her own pace and consider placing some treats nearby to help them adjust and feel comfortable. It won’t take long until they settle in and all the lights and sounds can be turned on without scarring the “Dickens” out of your furry friend! The same approach can be used for “visitors” from the North Pole, or your Uncle Bill who Fido has never met. Slow introductions, using treats and patience are the keys.
Marking the Christmas Tree
Marking is a common and normal behavior in dogs and has been known on occasion to increase with the presence of a Christmas tree. It’s only natural for your dog as there is a strange new item in their house, it’s tall and smells “funny”. Usually, if marking is going to occur, it will be when the tree first arrives. Slow introduction with a leash is recommended and generally after a few minutes marking is less interesting to your dog and they move on. For those dogs that are a little more persistent, it may be necessary to put up a baby gate or other barrier to prevent access to the tree for marking.
Unfortunately, during the Holiday Season opportunities are endless for our K9 friends to get into trouble with chewing. Whether it be decorations, food or furniture the nature of the season provides many pitfalls for our dogs. In many cases an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That is to say that we should try to limit our pets exposure to inappropriate food items by keeping food covered until ready to serve and placing food well out of reach for our pets. In addition, decreasing access to ornaments and decorations by closing doors or using baby gates and preventing unsupervised access to highly decorated rooms is helpful. Finally providing increased access to appropriate chew toys in the highly decorated areas gives our pets an acceptable alternative to the family manger scene or Christmas Tree.
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to all!
From your Golden Isles Animal Hospital family!
Golden Isles Animal Hospital is aware of the vast amount of information available on the internet. Our team has taken the time and evaluated the following sites. We trust the information the listed websites provide to you, our client, and member of our family.
American Animal Hospital Association
American Board of Veterinary Practitioners
American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
American Kennel Club
American Veterinary Medical Association
Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges