A blog about dog training and dog breeding…and other sundry matters

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My puppy Tuvok playing with his Christmas presents last year.

Christmas should be a joyous occasion, but it seems that danger lurks at every corner.  We are warned to be extra cautious on the roads; we are warned to be hyper-vigilant when out shopping.  Dangers exist for our dogs at this time, too.  Here are a few tips which will help dogs owners keep their pets safe this holiday.

Protecting your dog from theft

Who can resist those large liquid eyes staring out at you from that furry face?  Very few people can, and thieves use this to their advantage.  A small dog, even within the confines of your yard, poses a great temptation to the would-be thief who could probably make a quick sale.  Save yourself heartbreak and do not allow your small dog to remain in your yard for long periods of time unsupervised.  Also, check your fences to make sure there aren’t any openings though which your dog could escape.

Now that temperatures have cooled down somewhat, some people choose to take their dogs with them on short trips to the store.  During this season with long check-out lines, what should be a five minute visit to the store for a loaf of bread, can turn into twenty minutes, which is more than enough time for a thief to break into your car and steal the dog that you left to await your return.  Do not take your dog in the car this season, unless you have someone remain in the car with the dog while you run your errands.

Protecting your dog from choking and poisoning

The Christmas season in most households means that there are lots of sweets, booze; and, in a dog’s eyes, toys such as Christmas trees, their decorations, and the presents laid out under them.  All of these add to the season’s festivities, but they are deadly to dogs.

Bored dogs and teething puppies find the electrical cords for the Christmas tree lights irresistible.  They will chew through the wires if given the chance and electrocute themselves (and probably burn the house down).  The decorations, wrapping paper, and bows and ribbons pose a choking hazard to dogs, too.  Some dogs will have no interest in chewing the tree or its trimmings, but may express their opinion of the whole set up by raising a leg and urinating, as one of my males did some years ago.  It’s best for everyone involved if the dog is not allowed unsupervised around the Christmas tree.  He can enjoy the lights and tinsel while in the company of humans, but not by himself.

Then there’s the temptation of the sweets and booze.  Dogs love sweets much the way that humans do; unfortunately, they cannot metabolize sugar.  Artificial sweeteners, such as Xylitol contained in Ideal sugar substitute and chewing gums and candies with hard shells are extremely toxic to dogs, even in small doses.  It’s best not to share your M&Ms or Jordan Almonds with your dog.

Watching a dog stagger around in a drunken state may be amusing to watch, but many dogs die each year from alcohol poisoning.  They require only a small amount to be poisoned.  Be sure to keep glasses of wine, eggnog or sorrel, and any other drink containing alcohol out of the reach of curious dogs.

Have a safe holiday, and all the best for the New Year.

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