Christmas and Pets

Christmas and Pets

The holidays can bring many surprises and as many of you know I have a “pink nose garbage hound” otherwise known as Baker, the yellow Labrador.  Our first Christmas with him we splurged and offered him the gnarly bits of turkey with his supper and quickly found out he is VERY allergic to it.  So, on Christmas day, during COVID and a snowstorm we had to rush our swelling 5-month-old puppy to the emergency vet. Luckily, they took his anaphylaxis seriously and rushed him straight into treatment.  He was given drugs to bring the swelling down and was able to go home later that evening. In previous years I have had to deal with a pug eating a one-pound chocolate bar and puking and pooping all over my house and the vet’s floor.  He was suffering from gastritis caused by the dairy and sugar in the candy and was not actually poisoned by the cocoa.     

All the hustle and bustle of the holidays can cause stress for you and your dog.  Decorations, new foods, unfamiliar people, and noise can upset routines which in turn feeds bad dog behaviour which will lead to an increase in your stress level and potentially a trip to the vet. 

There are a few simple things you can do to keep things calmer, and your dog healthy over the holidays –


Closely supervise your dog and keep his routine as normal as possible; include lots of outdoor exercise, weather permitting, and normal predictable meals and treats will help your dog successfully weather the festivities.  Consider bringing your dog to daycare so that you can shop and party plan without having to worry about your furry family member. He will get lots of exercise and attention without becoming overwhelmed or destructive.   


Make sure your pet has a way out of the crowded noisy areas and has a quiet place to rest.


Most dogs can, and will, overindulge at the holidays if given the opportunity.  Make sure all edibles are kept out of reach and that guests are instructed to not feed your dog anything without asking.  People want to be kind and include the family pet, but this isn’t always healthy.


If you have a dog x-pen or metal dog barrier, consider putting it around the tree to keep the dog away from the tree, cords, and ornaments. 


Put presents under the tree at the last minute and don’t leave a pet unsupervised with the gifts once they are opened.  All those new things can overexcite the dog and cause him to either shred or ingest paper, wrapping, toys and boxes. 

Common holiday toxins

  • Batteries
  • Chocolate
  • Grapes
  • Poinsettia
  • Lilies
  • Mistletoe
  • Holly
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