Dog owners, especially those with puppies, that wish for a lovely Christmas time need to ensure the safety of their young dogs. Christmas celebrations pose some dangers to dogs, especially if you don't puppy-proof your home.
The holiday season brings strange visitors into your home that may upset your puppy, hazardous decorations and enticing foods that could be toxic. We have prepared a Christmas home puppy-proofing plan for you to use to ensure safety of everyone around.
8 Ways to Dog-Proof Your Home for Christmas
1. Minimize the Dangers of Christmas Tree
Christmas trees pose one of the biggest dangers to dogs. Even though Christmas trees are not poisonous to dogs, they are also not edible and digestible, and can cause some harm. Puppies will only need a small number of needles ingested to get sick.
Real Christmas trees require special tree water, which contains chemicals and pesticides. These liquids will be toxic to dogs.
Similar issues stretch to artificial Christmas trees, which can get brittle with time and lose some of their parts. These parts are made of plastic, and that can cause stomach and mouth irritation in dogs, and even bigger problems in puppies (e.g. obstruction).
Christmas trees aren't always stable and may follow over if nudged by the dog. The first thing you need to do to puppy-proof your home is to secure the Christmas tree. Ensure it's stable, choose ornaments that are not made of glass, and don’t use any edible ones.
Better yet, keep your puppy away from the Christmas tree. Place it in a room where your dog doesn’t go or use a pet gate around it. Alternatively, use a dog repellent spray around the tree and/or dip cotton balls in menthol ointment, stick them at the bottom of the tree. You can also use tacky mats around the tree to prevent the dog from approaching it.
2. Keep Your Puppy Away from Christmas Plants
Even though some Christmas plants are fine for dogs, keep your puppy away from them just in case. Puppies are more sensitive than adult dogs and in some cases things that wouldn’t cause any harm to adult dogs can harm a puppy.
Mistletoe, holly, amaryllis, daffodils and lilies are some of the more toxic plants that you need to keep away from dogs. It's best to avoid having them anywhere around, but if you really want to decorate your home with them, stick to a room where your dog won’t go, and keep them elevated.
3. Secure the Wires
With Christmas lights around, there are bound to be more electric cords and wires lying about. A dog can get tangled in the electric cords or chew on them. This may cause burns, electric shock or even death.
Protect cords and wires with cord covers, double-sided tape or tinfoil tape. Try to make them less visible and tuck them in so they can’t be easily spotted by your puppy.
4. Beware the Fire Hazards
Keep your puppy away from the fireplace if you have one, and ensure it's secured, too. Dogs will be naturally drawn to the warmth, but since they are not yet experienced, they will often end up with burned paws.
Candles are another possible fire hazard. Ensure the puppy won't knock over lit candles, or even come near them. It is much safer to go with electric candles which also provide pleasant Christmas atmosphere and decoration.
5. Don’t Feed Your Pup Human Food
You, your family members or guests might be tempted to give your dog some Christmas dinner. Instruct them not to, no matter what. While you know better what's safe for your pup, your guests may not. Another problem can be overeating, especially if your guests keep feeding the dog.
Some Christmas foods are fine for dogs like lean, white meat, but be particularly vigilant about foods like nuts, chocolate and other candy, grapes and raisins, and alcohol – it's all toxic to dogs, can cause gastrointestinal issues and even death.
6. Keep Your Medicine Away
Don’t keep your medicine or even dog medicine lying around since they can easily end up in your pup’s mouth. Store them away in a cabinet or a cupboard, along with all cleaning supplies. Toxic chemicals that are found around the house, such as in cleaning supplies, can poison the dog.
7. Choose the Right Toys
If you want your puppy to feel the Christmas spirit, get some Christmas dog toys. But be careful still: dogs may chew their toys to no end, so choose those that can’t be broken or dismantled easily or at all.
Some small pieces can be swallowed by your pup and get lodged in their intestines or even present a choking hazard. Go with chew toys that are indestructible.
Christmas can be stressful for some pets due to loud noises and crowds. If you're hosting a Christmas party, ensure your puppy will have their own quiet space where they can retreat to. Ideally, it's in another room with your pet's own bed, dog crate and maybe even a white noise machine to reduce stress.
Don't force your dog into socializing, especially with guest kids. If you'll have the dog around the party, introduce all of your guests to the dog, and vice versa. Run down through the rules: no feeding, no rough play (for kids), and so forth.
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