The holiday season is all about spending time with loved ones, which includes furry family members. Many pet parents enjoy dressing their dogs up in cozy sweaters, taking them out in the snow and feeding them holiday treats. As you get into the festive spirit, it’s important to keep pets safe. Here are our top Christmas safety tips for dogs to help ensure your four-legged friend stays happy and healthy this winter.

Christmas safety tips for dogs

Make Your Christmas Tree Dog-Proof

Christmas trees are a great way to ring in the holidays. Unfortunately, they contain tons of items that can be harmful to dogs. Here are a few ways to make your Christmas tree a bit safer.

Secure Your Tree

Every dog owner knows that these crafty canines can have tons of energy — the last thing you want is for your dog to run around and accidentally knock over your tree. Not only does this ruin all the hard work you put into setting it up, but a falling tree can harm your pet. You can secure your Christmas tree through one of the following methods:

  • Use a fishing line to attach it to the wall or ceiling.
  • Set your tree on a strong base.
  • Install a wall or ceiling hook.

Whether you have a heavy, real tree or a light, synthetic tree, taking the time to secure it can go a long way when it comes to protecting your pet.

Decorate Carefully

Christmas lights may be fun to look at, but they can be detrimental to your pet’s health. To prevent your dog from chewing them, try to keep the bottom portion of the tree free of lights. You should also keep an eye on cords and check them for signs of chewing.

Along with holiday lights, most of us decorate trees with ornaments. To keep things pet-friendly, try to do the following:

  • Avoid using breakable ornaments.
  • Keep ornaments out of reach.
  • Use secure items (such as ribbons) to hang decorations.

By keeping ornaments secure, you reduce the risk of them scratching, hitting or being consumed by your pet.

Keep Things Clean

Pine needles may smell great, but you don’t want your dog to get near them. If consumed, they can make your pet’s stomach upset and irritate the intestines. If you have a real tree, be sure to sweep the area regularly so no pine needles are left on the floor.

You should also keep the area around your tree spic and span on Christmas morning. If you’re opening gifts in front of your pet, put away any ribbons and wrapping paper.

Be Careful With Holiday Plants

mistletoeIf you plan to decorate your home with seasonal plants, keep them out of reach of your dog. Certain plants can be dangerous when ingested, such as the following:

  • Mistletoe: Holly and mistletoe contain berries that are toxic to pets.
  • Flowers: If you receive flowers as a gift (especially lilies or daffodils), make sure your pet can’t easily access them.
  • Poinsettia: Poinsettia plants may be colorful and festive, but they can harm your dog if they’re treated with pesticides.

If you suspect your dog has consumed any of your plants, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Keep Your Pet Away From People Food

After enjoying a big holiday feast, it might be tempting to slip your dog a few leftovers. Unfortunately, lots of the food we chow down on during the holidays can be harmful to our pets. Be sure to keep your dog away from the following toxic foods:

  • Alcohol: If you’re planning on making Christmas cocktails, don’t let them near your pet — alcohol can hurt your dog’s liver and brain.
  • Candy: Most candies contain sugar and sweeteners that are bad for your dog’s liver and stomach.
  • Chocolate: Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine, which is poisonous to dogs.
  • Dairy: Many dairy products, including butter, cheese and eggnog, can cause allergies and make your dog’s stomach upset.
  • Garlic and onion: Foods like garlic and onion can cause anemia in dogs. Keep pets away from any dishes that use these ingredients, such as mashed potatoes or seasoned vegetables and meats.

If you want your dog to enjoy Christmas dinner with you, feed it safe, dog-friendly food and treats.

Protect Your Pet From the Cold

Who doesn’t enjoy going on a winter stroll with their pet during Christmastime? From neighborhood decorations to Christmas lights, there’s always plenty to see. However, if you live in a cold climate, the low temperatures can harm your dog’s paws and overall health. To protect your furry friend from the cold, try these safety tips:

  • Keep your pet moisturized: The cold air can cause your dog’s skin to dry out. Natural products like coconut and olive oil can help keep them hydrated.
  • Get a doggy coat: While dogs have natural fur coats, it’s a good idea to get them a small winter coat to provide extra protection.
  • Use booties or paw wax: Frost on the sidewalk can hurt your dog’s paws. Fortunately, you can protect them by investing in booties or applying a paw wax.

By taking these steps, you’ll reduce the risk of problems like hypothermia and frostbite.

Dog wearing winter coat

Train Your Dog

While it’s a good idea to make a few small adjustments to keep your dog safe during the holidays, many of these dangers can be avoided with proper training. Obedience training teaches your dog to be respectful, prevents unwanted behaviors and, most importantly, persuades your pet to listen to your commands.

Of course, not everybody has the time for training. Whether you’re busy with work or have familial obligations, The Dog Wizard is here to help. Our experienced, passionate trainers can assist with the following:

  • Basic obedience commands
  • Socialization
  • Behavior modification
  • Aggression
  • Separation anxiety

Make this holiday season the best one yet with professional dog training! Learn more about our services by finding us online or calling us at (866) 769-6935.