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While the holidays are a fun and festive time, you also want to make sure they are enjoyable for your four-legged family members. To keep your pups safe and engaged in holiday activities, we rounded up some of our best tips.
The colder weather brings an additional risk of fires as we work to keep our homes warm and cozy. Gas heaters, ovens, and space heaters have all been known to cause house fires. Holiday lights and decor pose additional risks. To keep your family safe:
Delicate ornaments, Christmas lights, and figurines that come out this time of year can be dropped or knocked off the counter or tree easily. Check your decor regularly for any sharp edges, chips, or breaks. These can cut or scratch your pup. Broken glass on the floor can scrape or injure paw pads or delicate bellies.
If any glass does break, be sure to clean it up right away. Lights, snowglobes, and other decorative elements can contain chemicals that can make your pup sick or small items that can pose choking hazards.
Outdoor blow-up decorations or figurines that play music or move can be scary to your pup. If your dog is showing signs of fear of your decor, you may want to put the offending object away. While it might be funny to watch your pup bark or growl at a life-sized reindeer, you do not want to cause your pup unnecessary stress.
Dogs show signs of stress and anxiety by moving away from objects, licking, and yawning. If you see your pup offering any of these behaviors around the decorations in your home, removing them or placing them in a room, your pup doesn’t go in might be your best option.
While it’s true there are many dangers for pups during the holidays, there are also a lot of ways to have them participate in the fun.
If you decorate a Christmas tree, you can invite your pet to hang out with you while you do it. To keep your pup from getting tangled in the lights or trying to eat the ornaments, bring their bed or a ‘place’ into the space and use the command go to your bed or go to your place, so your dog has somewhere safe to stay. If this is a challenge for your pup, you can offer a stuffed Kong, bone, or other long-lasting toys for them to work on while you decorate.
If your pup gets into everything and you don’t feel comfortable having them around a tree or other holiday decor, consider making your space feel more festive using toys and blankets designed for dogs! A snowflake bed with a pillow and blanket is the perfect set this time of year. For a larger pup, this Christmas tree lounger will make any space feel more festive. If your dog sleeps in your bed, there are many brands that offer holiday-themed sheets and blankets.
For pups on a mission to steal your stuffed animals, consider offering them their own. From a teddy bear in a holiday sweater to a Dreidel puzzle, there are many pet-safe options to choose from. You can even buy a tennis ball wreath!
If you love to bake lots of holiday cookies, you can include your pup in this tradition. We’ve rounded up a few great cookie recipes, or you can look for a recipe including your pup’s favorite flavor. If you’re not a big baker, there are plenty of holiday-themed treats available in the stores and online — no oven required!
If you and your family participate in the tradition of matching sweaters or pajamas, include your pup too. Target, Old Navy, and many other retailers now make matching sets for the whole family. If your pup hates to dress up, consider a matching bandanna or a collar in a similar print to your outfits.
Tearing, chewing, and digging are all natural dog behaviors. These skills can come in handy when opening gifts. If you want your pup to have something to do while the kids open presents, consider wrapping a few gifts for your pup. Let them tear, dig, and burrow to find something new and exciting. Just remember to remove any tags, plastic bags, or staples that could injure your pup in the process.
No matter how you celebrate, we hope you and your loved ones have a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season!
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.
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