When the holidays roll around, many of us love to decorate and get into the spirit of things. But when you have a dog or any type of pet, you have to be careful what you put up. We all want to keep our homes to be safe for our pets while we decorate and celebrate.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at eight tips to keep your home safe for your pets over the holidays.
Avoid Certain Decorative Plants
For many people, decorative plans are a staple of holiday decorations. But many of these plants are actually poisonous to our canine companions. It doesn’t matter how large they are, how old they are, or their breed. So you should keep these poisonous plants out of your holiday decorating.
Which plants should you avoid?
There are almost too many to keep track of! In terms of holiday plants, you’ll want to avoid:
- Mistletoe (yes, even if it is put up high. It could drop to the floor by accident)
Generally, it's a good idea to double-check if a plant is poisonous before bringing it into your home. Dogs are naturally curious and explore the world with their mouths. Keep them safe this holiday season by keeping poisonous holiday plants out entirely.
Don’t Leave Candles Unattended
Nothing sparks the Christmas spirit quite like a great candle scented with peppermint, pine, and other fragrances. While you can put up candles throughout your home, you can ensure they are safe by not leaving them unattended.
This is doubly true if you have a cat, but it still counts even if you just have a dog. Even if you think the candle is safe and secure, you might be wrong. Put up candles where your dog can’t possibly reach them and knock them over by accident.
Even better, only light candles when you are going to be in a room with them for a little while. That way, you can keep an eye on your candles and make sure no accidents occur. As soon as you leave or head out to hang with your family, blow the candles out, too.
Get a Fake Christmas Tree
When decorating for the holiday season, you might want to put up a tree in your living room. But we recommend getting a fake Christmas tree instead of a natural one.
You should do this whenever you have a dog for a few key reasons:
- It’s easier than you think to knock over a live Christmas tree.
- A living Christmas tree has to have water to survive. The tree’s pool may eventually develop bacterial colonies. If your dog sips at the water curiously, it could give them an infection.
- A dog might eat the real needles or leaves of a living Christmas tree. They might do the same with the plastic needles of a fake tree. But the plastic needles have less potential to be super toxic.
A fake Christmas tree is also just easier to handle overall for you and your family. Fake Christmas trees usually come with stable bases. This makes them harder for your dog to tip over or push around.
If you have a big dog that is set on tipping over your Christmas tree, you can do other things as well. For example, you can tether the top of your Christmas tree to the wall with a nail. This will further stabilize the tree and make it impossible for your dog to tip.
On the other hand, you might just need to go without a Christmas tree while you have a pup. To compromise, you could get a small Christmas tree that fits on your table or kitchen counter. Then you can still put up a couple of ornaments. But you won’t have to worry about your dog eating something they shouldn’t or causing a mess.
Tinsel is sparkly and multicolored and fits the holiday season perfectly. But it’s also very toxic to dogs. That’s a problem because most dogs just can't stay away whenever you hang it up.
Generally, it’s a good idea to just avoid tinsel entirely if you have one or more dogs in the home. Even if you put tinsel outside or if you think your dogs can’t reach it, there might be a problem. Some tinsel bits could fall down to the carpet and be scooped up by a curious canine.
When your dog eats tinsel material, it can build up in their digestive system. This could, over time, cause an intestinal blockage. Then you'll have to take your dog to the veterinarian for an emergency visit! Try to decorate your home using alternative decorations instead.
Watch Where You Put Sweets
Sweet treats abound during the holiday season for many of us. But you should be careful where you put them because of dogs’ natural issues with chocolate.
In a nutshell, all types of chocolate are poisonous to dogs, even white chocolate. The darker the chocolate, the more poisonous the chocolate is. Small dogs only need a couple of bites of dark chocolate to have a serious emergency.
Since chocolate makes up a huge proportion of holiday sweets, be very careful where you leave them out. Does your dog have a tendency to counter surf? Place plates far enough back that there’s no chance they can reach the treats.
Alternatively, keep your treats in the refrigerator or in sealed containers. That way, there’s no way your dog can get to the sweet chocolates you have out for your guests.
Keep Stockings High
Some families like to fill up stockings for each other in addition to putting presents beneath the tree. You can keep this tradition if you have one or more dogs. Just hang the stockings up fairly high. We mean really high!
Dogs can jump surprisingly high when they are motivated. If they smell candy or sweets in a stocking, they might try to get the stocking down by jumping at it. Not only could this cause them to injure themselves, but it could cause them to eat something they shouldn't.
To that end, only fill stockings on Christmas Eve or one or two days before your celebrations. That way, the stockings are filled for as little time as possible. Hang stockings up high and try not to leave your dog unsupervised near your fireplace.
Or you can make things even safer and simply forgo adding sweets to stockings. Stuff them with other presents or small goodies. Keep the sweets in the refrigerator and enjoy them on Christmas morning anyway.
Keep Logs/Firestarters Safe
If you live in the northern hemisphere, the holiday season is synonymous with winter. You might want to stuff some firewood and firestarters in your fireplace. But keep these safe and secure and away from your dog. Many of them have chemicals that can be toxic if your dog ingests them.
Come Up With a New Year’s Fireworks Plan
The holidays don’t end with Christmas. You also have to keep New Year’s in mind. Many big cities (and even some smaller towns) have New Year’s fireworks celebrations. Even if you don’t attend, the explosions of these fireworks could reach your home and your dog’s sensitive ears.
So you should come up with a good plan to protect your pup and keep them calm during New Year’s fireworks celebrations.
- Try exposure therapy with your dog to get them used to fireworks.
- Continue crate training your dog so they know they can retreat there if they are scared.
- Provide your dog with an alternative quiet and dark place to hide. This place should not have anything your dog can chew up or damage. Put a bed down for them that they can snuggle up in to feel safe and secure. Wild One’s Dog Bed is perfect for this.
- Consider using noise-canceling blinds or shades around your home during New Year’s.
If you plan to attend a New Year's fireworks celebration, you also need to have your pup accounted for. This might mean hiring a dog sitter or putting your dog in their crate. Lots of dogs run away from home in a panic when they hear fireworks. So don't plan to leave your dog outside in the backyard by themselves.
No matter what you do, planning for New Year’s fireworks early will help you tackle the issue more easily. Some dogs handle fireworks better than others. Make sure your solution is perfectly tailored for your canine companion and their unique needs.
Safe Holidays Are the Best Holidays
The holidays are a time for joy and spending time with those we love. You can do your part to keep your pet safe and enjoy the festivities by following the tips above. They’re the best ways to make sure everyone has a great time this holiday season.
After setting up your house for safety, you’ll want to think about gifts. Luckily, Wild One has everything you need to get your dog the best Christmas gift ever. Whether they deserve fun toys, a new bed, or even a comfortable harness, we can help.