The Eastern Star puppies are going to their puppy raiser families tonight, just in time for the holidays! While raising a puppy is an exciting time, it can also add stress, particularly at this time of year. Here are some holiday safety tips to make sure that you and your dog have a joyful holiday.
Be extra careful if you put up a Christmas tree. If dogs eat the tree or ornaments, they can get blockages in their intestines or worse. To keep your puppy from getting to the tree, you can surround it with a baby gate, or if you don't want to do that, put ornaments and tinsel above the dog's reach.
Also, if you have a live tree, do not let your dog drink the tree water. There can be chemicals in it, particularly anti-freeze, which can be deadly to animals.
Other Holiday Plants
Other seasonal holiday plants, such as mistletoe, poinsettias and lilies, can be poisonous to dogs in ingested. Keep them out of reach.
The twinkle of holiday lights always brings out the holiday spirit, but be sure to keep cords away from curious puppies. They could chew on them and get an electric shock.
Food, food and more food
The holidays are a wonderful reason to get together with family and friends and eat lots of delicious food. However, while that food might be okay for you, it could be harmful to your dog. Holiday foods are often rich and could give your dog vomiting and diarrhea. SSD dogs should never be fed people food from the table, counters, plates, etc. Part of their service dog training involves learning to chill out at people meal times.
If you're having people over to your house, you want to make sure your dog can calmly greet them. This means that the dog keeps all four paws on the floor. No jumping and barking. If you have time, proper greetings are a good thing to practice before any guests arrive. It may be helpful to have your dog on a leash while guests are arriving, and be sure to have the clicker and lots of treats ready. When guests arrive, keep your dog's attention on you by giving him treats, especially if people are petting him. It may also be helpful if you talk to your guests before they arrive to let them know they should ignore the puppy if he jumps on them.
Being around lots of people and activity can be very stressful for dogs. Make sure they have a quiet, calm place to go if all the excitement gets to be too much for them. Watch for the signs of stress, and if your dog starts exhibiting them, remove him from the situation.
When dogs get stressed, they may pant more and will be more thirsty than usual. Give them free access to cool, fresh water.
Also, it's a good idea to stick to your dog's routines as closely as possible. Continue feeding your dog on his normal schedule and take him outside for potty breaks and walks as close to your normal time as possible. And don't forget play time!
Finally, make sure you know what your dogs are doing at all times, especially if you have a young puppy. By keeping an eye on him, you can often prevent him from getting into mischief and make sure that the holidays are safe and happy for everyone.
Happy holidays from all of us here at SSD!
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