Dogs and Christmas Safety

christmas dog

Dogs and Christmas Safety

Make Your Howliday House Safe

The holidays are a wondrous time, especially that first Christmas you get to share with your new dog.  Every year my aunt, the veterinarian, makes her Christmas bonus on the ornament surgeries she has to do when Fido decides the dangling toys on the indoor tree potty are edible.

I have included my mother's recipe for anti-chewing spray as a set up to my story time.  Disclaimer though: you should put the tree ornaments out of reach of your dog if he is at risk for stealing them.  Don't chance the anti-chewing spray.  Ornaments can be deadly, so keep them out of reach!
Christmas dog
My mother’s recipe for anti-chewing spray:
Soak the really hot peppers you can find at the grocery store in a some white vinegar in a jar on the windowsill for a couple weeks.
Strain and cut with water.  Put in a squirt bottle.
Spray whatever strikes your dog’s fancy for illicit munching.

Story time:    At my house, I put my Christmas tree up on top of the table, which is well out of reach of marauding munchers.  Last year I did so and patted myself on the back for being a responsible pet owner...that is until I noticed one of my cats, Attila the Cat, chowing down on the white flocking on my faux tree. Yes, I have two cats as well (yes, I’m single.  Don’t be judgy). This particular cat has been a problem muncher in my life- he has a compulsive fetish for baked goods- muffins, cakes, what have you.  He once caused me to have to cut my hair short.  I had bought a new seasonal shampoo that smelled like vanilla cookies…and the cat decided he liked it a little too much while I was sleeping one night.  So anyway, he was chowing down on the tree.  So I figured, hey, if the no chew spray works on dogs, it probably works on cats, right?  I underestimated the determination of Attila the Cat in laying waste to my yuletide decor.  I would spray one branch and he would move on to the next.  One day, one of my clients was picking up her dogs from daycare and she remarked, “Did the dogs pee all over your tree?  That’s some impressive aim.”  Yes, the no-chew spray gave the dog trainer’s Christmas tree a unique and fitting touch.  We threw the tree out.

The Christmas tree is taken care of- now you're set. right?  WRONG!  Presents are a big attraction for dogs.  Even if they have not yet experienced the joy of ripping open packages with their owners on Christmas morning (I mean, who doesn't let their dog join in that fun?  It's the best!), the brightly colored new objects are right at his level.  Do not put food presents within reach of your dog.  Christmas cookies hot from the oven are another danger.  You set them to cool on the counter or kitchen table and as soon as you turn your back, SNARF!  The cookie itself probably will not hurt the dog, but if it's right out of the oven, it could burn your pooch's licker.  And let's be honest.  He needs that licker to lick things...such as the floor, your couch,  his butt, your toddler's face, and the remains of gum stuck to the sidewalk, to name a few.  Also, stealing food is a terrible habit for your dog to get into anyway  (I know...I have my battles).

Story time:  Under my family's Christmas tree, wrapped in cute doggy wrapping paper of course, was a gift box of sugar free dark chocolates for one of my aunts.  I don't know if my mom's German Shepherd Dog, Bella, decided that obviously the dogs on the package meant the package was for her (just kidding) or that she just smelled the food.  Remember how amazing our dog's sniffers are?  They can smell food packaged in a box, wrapped in plastic wrap, and then wrapped again in wrapping paper.  Bella ate the whole box.  Not only were we worried about the chocolate component but the xylitol (fake sugar) is also toxic to dogs.  Luckily Bella is a large dog and had no complications from her guilty smorgasbord...other than pooping festively shimmering turds for a couple days after.

Feliz Naughty Dog!
-Sammy the Dog Trainer


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