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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.


Christmas Puppy

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?  

It is not a puppy!  Not on Christmas morning.  HOLD ON....hear me out, you're gonna see it too.  First, it's the holidays and you're likely visiting with lots of family and friends, you're out and about more than usual and/or have more visitors than usual, your house is decorated with your favorite holiday things, your kids have all kinds of new things you still have to find space for.  Lets face it.  We deserve to relax a little after the big day, so most of us aren't putting the holiday away right away. 

With a new puppy, you will have to be on FULL ALERT, watch the puppy by the tree, pick up that ribbon, don't get him get those LOL dolls or lego's.  Where is the puppy?  Didn't you ask them to watch him so you can shower, or cook?  There will be no long visits or time away,  that puppy is just baby after all and he'll need your love and attention too!

Getting a puppy on Christmas sounds Magical and I'm sure it is. . . . . . . for about 30 minutes. But there is a lot more going on and it really isn't the best time for a puppy.   We have LOTS of families put together a wonderful surprise for the holidays with a puppy!  Let's talk about it.

We have lots of ideas how you can still "Get a Puppy for Christmas", and have the magic, just bringing your new family member home AFTER the holiday is boxed back up, traveling and visiting is over for now and the house is now ready for your new pup!

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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