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Holiday Survival Guide

Here are a few more things to think about with the holiday upon us! Just taking a few extra measures to ensure their safety and happiness will give everyone a little more peace of mind.

The Best Gift You Can Give Yourself and Your Family!

I'm the first one to try and make the holidays as special as I can for my kids.  Standing in long lines, ordering months in advance for that one special thing.  But what would really put it over the top?  What would be THE BEST present of all?  A PUPPY!!  I know, it feels like I’m sellin ya on.  But hear me out.  We love great gifts, the coolest new gaming system, a new bike, or a longboard.  For sure great gifts.  But when you get a puppy, you are adding a family member, the gift that will bring you memories of a lifetime.  I use him a thousand times in my stories, but Cosmos came into our family when Parker was 5, and let me tell you, they surely did grow up together.  Cosmos changed our family, built confidence in a boy, gave him a friend when he was lonely or needed someone to listen and be completely judgment-free…. just unconditional love.

Christmas Puppy

We have a couple sweet as can be puppies available that are ready to go home just after the Holidays!  I know this feels like its too late for a Christmas gift like this, or you’re too busy, but bringing them home AFTER the holiday gets put away, you can still enjoy your Holiday without the worry of having to pick it all up ASAP!  When you bring your puppy home, they will be a solid 90% potty trained (you have to follow their cue’s, like going to the door)which is one less thing for you to worry about!

Let’s start the Magic of the Holiday by bringing home your new best friend and let’s start making new memories!  We even have a few ideas on how you can suprise everyone on Christmas Morning!!!

Parker Cos 2009 Christmas.jpg
Park Cos 2009.jpg

Winter puppies are my favorite time of year to bring a canine into your home.  Things slow down.  Potty training is easier, you tend to have more time to get them trained before summer, and they’re fully vaccinated by the time you’re going to the Farmers Marker or the beach or wherever life takes you all.  

A Guide to Making Your Dog a “Plate” on Thanksgiving


The holidays are upon us!! We host Thanksgiving at our house and we have up to 20 people here from little kids to grandparents. It's a wonderful time for friends, family and lots of Delicious Food — but if you're not paying attention or you have a guest that doesn't understand the dangers, it could also be a time for possible distress for your dood.


I know that you want to share Thanksgiving with your WHOLE family, that includes your canine companions.  And I know I promote several safe foods all the time, Holidays are a little different, because, well, everything is cooked with butter, seasoning and more.  I know that some of your are already excited to let your dog in on the fun, and watching their face as they're presented with a heaping plate of people food.  I mean.......BEST HUMANS EVER!!!!!  ( they already think you are though)


Talkin’ Turkey:

  • First, DON'T MAKE THIS A HABIT, but Turkey in small amounts shouldn't be a problem, just make sure its only the meat....never give your pet the left over carcass–cooked bones can be problematic for the digestive tract.

  • No Bread Dough: Did you know that if dog ingests raw bread dough, the yeast continues to convert the sugars in the dough to carbon dioxide gas and alcohol??? That means you could have a bloated & drunk dood, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring hospitalization!! Yikes!!!

  • Sugar-free Desserts: If you plan to bake sugar-free Thanksgiving desserts, keep your pets away!! You already know that chocolate, grapes, raisins & onions are on the NO list for doods.....but a bigger concern is XYLITOL...often found in sugar-free gum. Xyllitol is extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or even death in dogs. If your dog ingests this, call your vet or Poison Control ASAP!

  • A Feast Fit for a King or Queen: While our family enjoys a special meal, we will often give our Dood's a little bit of boneless turkey, some (baked or raw) sweet potatoes, (raw or roasted) carrots & green beans...maybe a few other healthy choices. How we give it is always different, it might be in their bowl or in a food puzzle where they can work a little for their special treat.


Just remember, don't let your pets to overindulge, nobody wants and upset stomach, diarrhea or even worse—pancreatitis. If you're unsure, what to give and how much is OK, just remember that less is more......but keeping your dood on their regular diets during the holidays is perfectly fine!! They're in it for the love and snuggles, everything else is just extra!

The 5 Most Dangerous Holiday Plants for Pets

Merry Christmas
  • Poinsettias:  According to the Pet Poison Helpline, ingesting the sap can cause nausea and vomiting.  You may have heard warnings about the harmful effects of poinsettias, and it’s commonly believed they pose a deadly threat to pets. But this is only in extreme cases.

  • Holly: You should keep pets away from all holly, but the Christmas and English varieties can cause severe gastrointestinal distress, including vomiting and diarrhea. The spiny leaves, for obvious reasons, irritate the mouth and throat and often cause pets to shake their heads dramatically as they try to expel the culprit.

  • Mistletoe:  This plant contains a malicious cocktail of substances toxic to dogs and cats—toxalbumin and pharatoxin viscumin. After ingesting mistletoe, pets can experience breathing problems, a drop in blood pressure, and hallucinations that often lead to unusual behavior (including seizures and death)

  • Pine:  Fir trees contain oils that can irritate your pet’s mouth or stomach, causing drooling or vomiting. The shape of the needles themselves can cause agitation, and sometimes obstruct or puncture the digestive tract..  The Christmas tree’s water bowl is equally nasty—a veritable reservoir of fertilizers, bacteria, and molds that can do serious damage in very small dosages

  • Amaryllis:  The bulb is far more threatening than the plant’s petals, leaves, or stalks, but the eye-catching parts of the plant contain toxins like Lycorine and phenanthridine alkaloids. If these get into your pet’s system, you’re likely to see drooling, a decrease in appetite, abdominal pain, and vomiting. The toxins can also slow your dog’s breathing and cause a drop in blood pressure, so you might notice your pet moving more slowly. Tremors are another frightening side-effect.

The Good & Bad of Winter

A few Ideas to Keep Active in the Winter:

  • Snuffle Mat (and other food toys). Interactive food-dispensing toys are a simple solution to many dogs’ winter blues. We particularly like “snuffle mats,” where you bury treats in the cloth fingers of a textured mat and let your dog go to it.

  • Cognition Training. Those winter shut-in months are a perfect time to experiment with cognition training for your dog. You don’t need a lot of room, and this brain exercise is surprisingly tiring. You can teach your dog to imitate your specific behaviors, learn to demonstrate object, shape, and color discrimination and even read! (someone please do this!)

  • Round Robin Recall. You need at least two humans and a dog who loves to come when she’s called for this game. The larger your house and the more humans (within reason!), the better. Be sure each person has a fun party with the dog when she gets there! This not only burns off dog energy, it gives the kids something to do, and it helps improve your dog’s recall.

  • Indoor Fetch. If there’s only one of you and your dog will fetch, you can stand at the top of the stairs and toss her ball or toy to the bottom, have her run down to get it, run back up to you. If she will chase it but not bring it back, have a laundry basket full of toys or balls, call her back, and just keep throwing new ones.

  • Ball Pit. For this one you need a kiddie wading pool and a generous supply of non-toxic, sturdy ball-pit balls. Put a towel down to cover the bottom of the pool (so the sound doesn’t startle your dog), fill the pool with balls (no water!), and let the fun begin! If your dog doesn’t take to it immediately, toss treats and favorite toys into the pool and let her – or help her – dig for them.

 Here is a partial list of cold-weather dangers:

  • Hypothermia and frostbite. These are very real concerns. Signs of frostbite include discoloration of the affected area of skin; coldness and/or brittleness of the area when touched; pain when you touch the body part(s); swelling of the affected area(s); blisters or skin ulcers; areas of blackened or dead skin.

  • Antifreeze poisoning. Spilled antifreeze presents a serious danger to your dog. Dogs are attracted to antifreeze because of its sweet taste, but just a lick or two can be deadly. 

  • Ice-melting chemicals. The calcium and sodium chloride in rock salt that is used to treat roads and sidewalks is toxic to your dog, often by them licking. Signs of salt toxicity include extremes in water consumption (your dog may either drink excessively or stop drinking altogether); vomiting; diarrhea; lethargic or “drunk” behavior; seizures. While “pet-safe” salt is safer than regular rock salt, like “pet-safe” antifreeze, it is still not completely safe. 

  • Heaters. A chilly dog can become a heat-seeking missile and may try to cozy up to the heaters in your home. Caution: She can burn herself on a wall heater or wood-burning stove, or knock over a space heater and start a fire. If your dog looks to be cozy,  give her a space with plenty of warm blankets she can burrow under.

  • Falling through ice. Every winter brings tragic stories of dogs falling through pond or river ice, and drowning or freezing to death. Sometimes the tragedy is compounded by the death of the human who tried to save the beloved dog. If your dog doesn’t have a rock-solid recall, keep her safely on leash when you are around frozen water.

And lastly, we love to include our dogs in all that we do, but sometimes they just need a break, make sure your dog has a safe quiet place to get away from the hustle and bustle that the holiday brings...after all you may not see Uncle Buck sneaking him some grapes or Aunt Violet letting little Jimmy climb all over your unsuspecting pup.
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