For new pet parents of a precocious puppy, the holiday season can be interesting, to say the least. There’s so much to see and do – and eat – that inexperienced dogs may be temporarily bewildered by such festivities.
Even older dogs may have momentary indiscretions when faced with the holiday spread – or become anxious or fearful around loud noises and boisterous crowds.
Maintaining a balanced, nutritious diet throughout the season is key, as is ensuring your dog gets plenty of exercise, ample rest, and professional guidance when necessary.
Here are three great holiday pet tips from the pros to help you safely navigate the season.
- Nix the table scraps. The experts warn against setting a precedent with holiday treats from the table. It’s not a nutritional thing, either. (Well, not entirely.) But by giving a bit of ham or a slice of turkey to your pet as the human guests enjoy their food, you are inadvertently encouraging your dog to beg. Once you’ve opened that door, your dog will consistently ask for food from your table, and if denied – well, you can’t expect them to make great decisions when your back is turned.
The solution? Give your dog an alternative; another place to hang, or another activity to engage with. Gently, but definitively follow-through, leaving no room for negotiation.
- Deck the halls with your dog in mind: If you’re raising a puppy, remember – they’ve never seen a Christmas tree or shiny, bright holiday ornaments and decorations before. Curiosity is not only an issue with cats, but your dog may feel the need to explore these goodies, too. As a pet parent, you will need to stress what’s off-limits and keep a close eye on your pup. Consistent correction and follow-through are critical. Some basic obedience training – including simple commands like “come,” “sit,” and “leave it,” paired with hand signals – will also be a tremendous help.
- You shake hands with the guests, not the dog: The holidays are a time of togetherness, but some guests may not be big dog or animal fans. Teach your dog not to jump or leap on visitors by only granting positive attention when they have all four paws planted on the floor.
This season, be sure to give your dog the attention and exercise they crave. You will be astounded at how this ultimately leads to quieter, more serene moments of rest and TLC with your best pal.
One final holiday pet tip: Should your home will be filled with guests this season, you may consider boarding your dog at a luxury pet care resort. Green Acres’ abundant grounds and expansive play areas make a great gift for your four-footed friend. Country-style accommodations and one-of-a-kind amenities have been designed with dogs in mind. And because we’re veterinarian-owned and operated, your dog’s stay will be safe, secure, and filled with customized care. Contact us today to learn more.