The holiday season is a time of stress for many of us. While we scramble to get all of our shopping done, get the house ready for company and still finish all of our regular tasks, our dogs some times fall by the wayside.
It's important to any house party, holiday or otherwise, that your dog is well behaved. In order to make that happen, you have to carve out some time for your dog.
Here MUST do list for your dog and the holidays:
1) Exercise - even if the weather stinks, even if you have a trillion pies in the oven. Make sure your pooch has had a nice long walk, a run or a rousing game of fetch before your company arrives.
2) Mental stimulation - food dispensing toys and puzzle games will keep your pooch occupied AND tire out his brain. You can utilize these tools while you prepare your meal, and while you company is over. They will surely enjoy watching Fido figure out a food puzzle.
3) Dog friendly treats - while we indulge, it's our nature to allow our pets to indulge along side us. However, many human foods can be dangerous for our dogs to consume.
Avoid: cooked bones, turkey skin, fatty meat, garlic, onions, grapes, raisins, chocolate, nuts, alcohol, yeast, bread dough, avocado, and caffeine. This is just a short list, there are many more foods you shouldn't feed your pets.
Do: Have some stuffed Kong toys, raw marrow bones, or bully sticks handy so that your pup can have a holiday treat or two. Allow your guests to offer your dog a little bit of lean meat, sweet potato or carrot.
4) Have a safe space for your furry friend. Weather it's their crate or your bedroom, your dog should be able to escape the crowd if it wants to. If your dog is shy or anxious in social situations, a holiday meal isn't the time to work on training. Set them up in their safe spot with a good chew toy, and all the both of you to relax.
I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season. As I light my menorah tonight, I'll be thinking of my friends and family - including your fur babies!
Emily Lewis is a professional dog trainer and veterinary technician. She lives in Vermont with her three rescue dogs, tuxedo cat, corn snake, crested geckos and Russian tortoise.