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12 Tips for dog-friendly holidays

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Dog-friendly holidays

'Tis the season for all things merry, but festivities can frustrate our furry friends - or even worse. Bark Busters USA, among the world's largest dog training companies, offers these dog-friendly holdiday tips to help keep your family dog safe and happy for the holidays.

"The holiday season introduces our pets to a great deal of chaos, at least from their perspective," said Liam Crowe, master dog therapist and COO of Bark Busters USA. "Unfortunately for dogs, the festivities of the season introduce a host of new stimuli -- sights, sounds, and smells -- that can disrupt their routines and present potentially dangerous circumstances. However, following a few tips can make the holiday season a bright one for everyone -- including the family dog."

Dog-friendly holiday tip #1

A tired dog is a good dog. Before guests arrive for holiday festivities, walk your dog or play fetch to help your pup relieve excess energy. A one or two mile walk or 30 minutes of playing fetch will generally result in your dog taking a nap, just as guests arrive.

Dog-friendly holiday tip #2

Prevent holiday decoration disasters. When decorating your Christmas tree, consider anchoring it to the ceiling or wall to prevent the tree from tipping. It is also wise to hang non-breakable ornaments near the bottom of the tree. This will help prevent potential disaster from an inquisitive canine or an over-active tail-wagger, which can wipe out an entire limb of precious ornaments.

Dog-friendly holiday tip #3

Tinsel Town can land your pup in the emergency room. Tinsel is new and exciting to dogs. Unfortunately, if they eat the tinsel, it can twist in their intestines and cause serious problems. It is best to use it sparingly -- or not at all.

Dog-friendly holiday tip #4

Evergreens are not always for everyone, especially a curious canine. Christmas trees are wonderful traditions, but they can lead to several problems for nosy pups. Don't let your dog drink the water from the base of the Christmas tree since this water often contains chemicals to help the tree last longer and can cause severe indigestion. Even sap and pine needles can cause health problems. Plan to regularly sweep fallen needles to avoid a trip to the emergency animal clinic. If ingested, they can puncture holes in your pet's intestine.

Dog-friendly holiday tip #5

Holiday sweets are not dog treats. Chocolates, cookies, cakes and peppermints are only a few of the sweets we treat ourselves to during the holidays. Unfortunately, these "treats," especially chocolate, can hurt your dog and may trigger life-threatening illnesses.

Dog-friendly holiday tip #6

Make no bones about it -- cooked turkey and chicken bones are not for dogs. These types of bones are thin and can break easily, causing choking or bone shards to get stuck in your dog's gums. It is best to stick with compressed rawhides or other bones specifically designed for dogs to chew.

Dog-friendly holiday tip #7

Mistletoe is for kissing -- not eating! Keep your pets away from mistletoe as well as amaryllis, which are both toxic if ingested by your dog. Rumor has it that poinsettias are also poisonous, but they are not life threatening to dogs. However, these plants are dangerous if ingested by your cat.

Dog-friendly holiday tip #8

Keep the liquids flowing! When pets are stressed, they typically pant more. Keep lots of fresh water readily available for them to drink.

Dog-friendly holiday tip #9

'Tis the season to give, so add your pet to your list. The holidays can be chaotic -- not just for you, but for your dogs as well. To help them stay occupied and out of the holiday decorations give them their own gifts. The Buster Cube, for instance, is nearly indestructible and will distract your dogs for long periods of time -- perfect to keep them busy during your holiday parties!

Dog-friendly holiday tip #10

Do not give pets as a surprise gift! Many people choose to give cute and cuddly puppies as presents during the holidays. Unfortunately, many recipients aren't thrilled with having a puppy that quickly grows into an adult dog. As a result, many of these "holiday gifts" end up at animal shelters. It is not uncommon for parents to give their children puppies. While this is not necessarily considered a "surprise" to everyone in the household, parents must recognize a dog takes a real commitment of time. The parents and children must be ready to participate in training and managing the responsibility of their new family member. Instead of giving a dog as a gift, consider giving a leash, collar, or dog training certificate from Bark Busters. With the gift, include a note saying a dog comes with it, but the recipient gets to pick it out. This will help ensure the lucky person receives the dog he or she wishes to have as part of the family.

Dog-friendly holiday tip #11

How low can the weather go? Frequently, owners put their dogs outside to get them out of the way when guests arrive for holiday festivities. Responsible pet owners need to be aware of the temperature, since it can quickly plummet in the winter. Additionally, if you live in an area that gets snow, keep your pets close to home and do not let them roam freely. Icy roads make it hard for cars to stop if your dog wanders into the street.

Dog-friendly holiday tip #12

Blowing snow is best left in the globe. Did you know that many snow globes contain antifreeze? Antifreeze is extremely toxic to dogs. You may not know exactly what grandma's antique snow globe contains, so it is best to keep it -- and all antifreeze -- out of the reach of a happy, tail-wagging dog. If your dog does happen to knock over the snow globe, send him out of the room while you clean up the liquid. Dilute the spot with water and a nontoxic floor cleaner to make sure your dog does not lick harmful chemicals later.
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