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Helpful Holiday Hints

CELEBRATING THE HOLIDAY SEASON WITH OUR DOGS

The busy holiday season brings with it many joys as well as many challenges for us and for our canines. Here are some suggestions to keep your dog happy and safe during this time from all the members of GDHAW.

First of all, remember that your dog has become used to the home routine as it usually is and may not understand that you are busy with extra shopping, cooking, cleaning and visiting to manage. What your dog will understand is that she isn’t getting her usual time and attention from you, but she doesn’t understand why. It is really important to make sure to give the dog in your life some quality time AND REASSURANCE as you work through the holidays.

Our dogs may need special attention and reassurance when Santa Clause AND OTHER VISITORS COME to our homes. While we all love Santa AND THE GUESTS WHO BRING HOLIDAY CHEER to us, sometimes happy exuberant VOICES AND LAUGHTER ARE FRIGHTENING FROM THE view of OUR DOGS. Remember to have your dog in a safe comfortable place for such visits so that she does not forget her manners and give an improper or inappropriate greeting.

If your dog is going with you to visit others during the holiday season, taking the time to introduce your dog to the dogs who live in the house you will visit in a neutral place and on leash will go a long way to making sure that neither dog feels threatened. Then, you as handler can decide whether the dogs will be comfortable spending time together or whether the dogs will be happier separated or in crates where they don’t bother one another and others as the festivities go on. Be sure to pack a bag for your dog with her food. You can measure individual servings of dog food into zip-lock bags making dog food preparation easier while you are away. Put in her dog dish, any medications she takes, a bag of treats if you give those, brush and comb and small bed or rug with which your dog is familiar so she still feels at home. Bringing a favorite toy or two also goes a long way to making our dog feel happy while away.

While beautiful, many of the decorations we bring into the home this time of year can also be dangerous for dogs. Keep all poisonous plants such as poinsettias and mistletoe out of the reach of dogs. Chewing parts of the Christmas tree itself or other greenery and pine cones can be dangerous as well. Bright shiny ornaments are totally fascinating to our dogs, and some dogs will actually try to grab and play with these. Unfortunately, ornaments like this will break and could cause lacerations to the mouth and digestive tract. Dogs may even try to drink the water into which you place the Christmas tree which isn’t good for her. Some people elect to protect the tree and wrapped gifts with an X-pen or some type of fence type barrier which will allow you to still enjoy the beauty of the tree, but keep your dog safe. Placing collars with bells on our dogs or other costume dress may not be tolerated by the family dog, and paying attention to the parts and pieces of such attire such as bells is important to keep our dogs from swallowing them.

Along with the pretty interesting decorations, the holiday season brings with it lots and lots of delicious food which smells wonderful to the dog who may be tempted. Things like a cube of butter, left to come to room temperature on a counter or table, or turkey, particularly the dark meat may be irresistible to the dog. The danger here is that these foods have high fat content which can cause pancreatitis which is a very painful and sometimes fatal illness for the dog. Chocolate is another tempting goody for our dogs because of its wonderful fragrance. However, chocolate kills where dogs are concerned. Chocolate contains ingredients which are highly poisonous to dogs, creating life-threatening or fatal neurological symptoms. Keeping these items out of the dog’s reach and resisting the temptation to share our human treats with our dogs will go along way toward having our dogs with us to bring in the New Year.

Should you wish to find a way to share a safe treat with your dog during the holiday season, one of our members recommends the following recipe for home made dog biscuits.

***BASIC DOG TREATS

1 3/4 C. whole wheat flour
1 1/4 C. oatmeal
1 1/2 T. vegetable oil
1 C. warm water
Options: 1/3 cup finely grated cheese or 1/4 cup peanut butter

Mix the dry ingredients together. Then mix the wet ingredients together.
Blend both mixtures until firm dough is achieved. Shape dough into an
oblong roll, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 300
degrees F. Lightly grease sheet pan. Slice roll into 1/4-inch slices, place
on sheet pan and bake for about 1 hour or until treats are done, checking
after 45 minutes, and then every 5 minutes thereafter. Let them cool before
giving to your best friend. ***

A final caution regarding our dogs and ingestible material is that antifreeze which drips out of our cars has a very sweet taste to dogs. If not watched, they will try to lick up this stuff and it is highly toxic to kidneys and liver. The best approach with all of these concerns is to stay alert and aware of your dog and her needs and know what she is doing. If you can’t watch her closely, use a crate or place her in a room where she can be safe. Should your dog get into trouble having ingested anything which is harmful, call and seek the advice of your veterinarian immediately.

We, the members of GDHAW, want to wish you, our readers, and your family including the canine members of that family a most joyful holiday season and happiest of new years and hope you will continue to visit us from time to time.


Ideas submitted by GDHAW members and compiled by Dianne