If you have a puppy and you want to have a lovely Christmas at the same time, you need to make sure that your puppy will stay safe during this stressful time for him. Whether you are bringing a new puppy in or you already have one, Christmas time can be potentially dangerous to them if you don’t puppy-proof your home properly.
Having a puppy requires a lot of attention on your part in order to keep him safe, but this is even more prominent during holidays because there are many more potential hazards than usual. The holiday season brings with it a lot of strange visitors to your home, curious decorations and very enticing foods.
All of these things can be very dangerous for your pets, especially if they are puppies who are so easily intrigued. For these reasons, we have prepared some useful tips for you that will help you puppy-proof your home this Christmas season.
8 Ways to Puppy-Proof Your Home for Christmas
1. Minimize the Dangers of Christmas Tree
Probably the biggest danger for your puppy during Christmas comes from the Christmas tree. Even though Christmas trees are not really poisonous to dogs, they are also not edible and digestible and can cause some harm. That is an even bigger issue if you have a puppy, since they will need a smaller number of needles ingested to make them sick and cause various gastrointestinal problems.
This is also true for artificial Christmas trees, which can become brittle with time and lose some of their parts. These parts are made of plastic, and that can also cause stomach and mouth irritation in dogs, or even bigger problems in puppies.
Keep in mind that real Christmas trees also require tree water, which could be poisonous to dogs because it contains various chemicals and pesticides.
Another common Christmas tree hazard comes from the possibility of it falling on your puppy. The first thing you need to do in order to puppy-proof your home for Christmas is to secure the Christmas tree.
You need to make sure that your Christmas tree is stable, for starters, and that it can’t be easily tipped over. However, that is not enough because even Christmas ornaments can potentially be hazardous to your puppy. Try to choose ornaments that are not made of glass. Don’t use edible ornaments, since they can make your puppy sick.
That is why the best thing to do is to ensure that your puppy doesn’t come near the tree at all. Put your Christmas tree in a room where your puppy doesn’t go or buy a pet gate to put around the tree to prevent your puppy from coming close.
You can also use his sense of smell against your pup, for example by letting him smell menthol which puppies usually don’t like. Spray a bit of it around the tree or dip cotton balls in menthol ointment and stick them to the lower branches and your puppy should stay clear of the tree. Small dogs, and particularly puppies, also don’t really like walking on sticky surfaces, so place a couple of those “tacky mats” around the tree as well.
2. Keep Your Puppy Away from Christmas Plants
Even though some Christmas plants are perfectly fine for dogs, you would still want to keep your puppy away from all of 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 your puppy.
Mistletoe, holly, amaryllis, daffodils and lilies are some of the more toxic Christmas plants that you need to keep as far away from your puppy as possible. Some of them can cause serious problems even for grown dogs. That means that they can even be fatal for puppies.
The best thing to do would be to completely avoid these Christmas plants altogether, but if you really want to decorate your home with them, keep them in a room where your puppy won’t go in, and keep them elevated so your puppy can’t approach them at all.
3. Secure the Wires
With so many Christmas lights around, there are bound to be more electric cords and wires lying around than usual, which can be really dangerous to puppies. They can become tangled in the electric cords and they can chew on them. This can cause burns, electric shock or even death.
Protect cords and wires with cord covers or double-sided 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
With a small and curious puppy in your home, you can never be safe from fire hazards. That is why you need to keep your puppy away from the fireplace if you have one. They will be naturally drawn to the warmth, but since they are not yet experienced they will often end up with burned paws. Make sure that the fireplace screen is secured, at the very least.
Candles are another possible fire hazard you need to worry about. Make sure that your puppy can’t knock over lit candles, or come near them. That can be really dangerous not just for your pooch, but for the entire family. 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 might become tempted to give your dog some of that Christmas dinner, but you need to resist the temptation. This is especially important if you are not sure which food you need to avoid completely and which is fine in small amounts.
For example, you can give your puppy some cooked meat of any kind, as long as it is not fat and seasoned. Lean, white meat will be the best. On the other hand, you need to avoid things like nuts, chocolate and other candy, grapes and raisins, etc. since they can cause some gastrointestinal issues and possibly even some more serious problems.
If you have guests coming over for dinner, you should tell them not to feed your puppy.
Another common problem can be overeating, especially if everybody gives him a little bit. Puppies will usually eat as much as you give them, which is not good if you don’t pay attention to the amount of food your puppy already ate.
Of course, it should go without saying, don’t give any alcohol to your puppy. Even grown dogs shouldn’t consume alcohol.
6. Keep Your Medicine in a Cabinet
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 in the cleaning supplies can poison your pup, so make sure that he can’t get to them at all.
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7. Choose the Right Toys
If you want your puppy to feel the Christmas spirit just like you do, get some toys for him to play with. However, you need to be careful here as well because some toys can be dangerous for your puppy. Dogs like to chew their toys, and you need to choose toys that can’t be broken or dismantled easily or at all.
Some small pieces can be swallowed by your pup and can become lodged in their intestines or even present a choking hazard. Go with chew toys that are basically indestructible if you want to stay on the safe side.
8. Make Your Puppy Comfortable
Christmas can be stressful for any pets because it is often accompanied by loud noises and crowds and puppies are even more susceptible to stress in these conditions. They get scared easily and often fear strangers, so if you plan to host a Christmas party you need to make sure that your puppy will have his own space where he can feel safe and comfortable.
Make sure that your dog can always retreat to another room where he will have fresh water and a place to take a nap or just lie around in silence. Some pups are particularly shy, and you shouldn’t try to force them to socialize with your guests, especially with children.
Kids can be rough with pets because many of them don’t really know how to handle a dog or a cat, and that can have a lot of bad psychological impact on your puppy, not to mention possible physical pain. That is why you should never leave your pup unsupervised with kids, even if he is not really shy. You should be sure that nothing goes wrong in their interaction.
Ask some of your guests to watch your puppy from time to time, just to make sure that everything is all right with him at all times. If you do everything right, your puppy will be and feel safe and you will be able to enjoy Christmas with him just like you should.
Keep in mind that puppies are still learning how to deal with the world around them and that they will be pretty curious at times, so be prepared for any surprises that might come along. Even if you do everything in your power to prevent any accidents, your pup might still find a way to get into trouble. Keep the number of your vet close at all times if you have a small puppy, especially during Christmas, so you can react quickly if anything happens.
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