Christmas is for the dogs!

Dogs can easily pick up on the moods of the people around them, so it’s no surprise that in the energetic (and sometimes frenetic) holiday season, a dog will get excited and playful, even if they don’t exactly know what’s going on. So many people! So much food! So many shiny decorations! And while it’s fun to have a playful pet during the Christmas season, remember that pretty much every holiday has its share of health hazards that a dog might encounter. Here are just a few of the things you should consider when decorating the house or preparing for your next holiday party.

As you’re decorating (whether your house in general or the Christmas tree itself), keep ornaments, lights, stockings, and other items up high, out of right of your dog. This will help avoid an ornament accidentally being eaten, or lights and wreaths being torn down by a pup who wants to get its paws on the pretty things.

When decorating your tree, try to avoid ornaments that are either too fragile or that are made out of substances that smell appealing to dogs, like fake gingerbread and other scented bits. If you like to string up popcorn or cranberries for extra food festivity, make sure those loops stay well above the lower branches, so Fido doesn’t get a chance to feast on them–and possibly swallow the string while he’s at it.

Remember that holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias are actually highly poisonous for dogs. If you absolutely must have these around, again, but sure they’re displayed in places your dog has no chance of reaching. And if you are slipping your dog treats during holiday parties, don’t give them anything too sugary, turkey with bones in it, and definitely no alcohol!

You might also consider keeping your Christmas decorations mainly in the living area, and then blocking the dog’s access to the living room via baby gates or other barriers until the holidays are over and everything is safely packed away. Or if your pup tends to give in to the temptation to chew on items around the house, you might keep the presents out from under the tree until it’s time to actually open them. If they’re sitting there for weeks ahead of Christmas Day, they could become an easy target for a dog looking for a new chew toy.

Lastly, tape up any exposed wiring to keep your pup from chewing on the wires and getting a nasty shock.

Fortunately, with a little thought and preparation, it’s not too hard to keep your dog safe during Christmas while still being able to indulge your holiday spirit!

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