With the excitement and activity of the holiday season the  four-legged family members can be easily neglected.  Between the disruption in normal schedules, strange visitors and tempting goodies on the table, the family dog faces numerous opportunities for mischief.  But with a little planning and a few precautions, the holiday season can be as safe for pets as it is joyous for the entire family.

Niki Tudge, the DogSmith founder, says, “Remember that many of the foods we serve during the holidays that we think are yummy can be dangerous and even fatal to our family dog.  So be extra careful to make sure your dog doesn’t have access to any of the goodies we serve during the holidays especially sweets, bones, alcohol, chocolate, coffee and tea. And keep an eye on the overflowing trash bins that can be a huge temptation for your dog.  You want to keep it away from the gravy soaked aluminum foil and things like toothpicks and plastics that can cause serious internal damage to your dog.”

In addition, many decorations and ornaments can present a danger to the family dog and some decorations, whether real or artificial, can be toxic.  Tree lights, extension cords and many holiday trimmings can be dangerous if chewed.  Other Christmas decorations can be toxic to a dog including the water in the Christmas tree pan, pine needles, tinsel and glass ornaments.

Marty Smith, DVM, suggests, “For dogs who may not behave or could be aggressive, placing them in a separate room, using pet gates, or having them stay at a friend's house during a party, may be necessary.  Sometimes, boarding a dog in a kennel may be the safest alternative.

Tudge says, “One of the best ways to prevent problems and keep your dog safe and happy is to provide your dog with a safe and comfortable refuge away from household activities.  A dog crate or a quiet, secure room will keep your dog safe and limit the stress it may be feeling because of strangers and holiday activities.  You may want to consider hiring a dog sitter for any extra busy days on your holiday calendar.”  For more information on pet sitting services visit www.DogSmith.com.