Top 10 Dog-Friendly Tips to Help Make the Holiday Season Merry

by Liam Crowe
CEO and Master Dog Behavioral Therapist
Bark Busters USA

In the spirit of the coming season, we’ve compiled our Top 10 Holiday Tips to help keep dogs and their families safe and happy during the holidays.

While most of us welcome the sights, sounds, and smells of the season, holidays can also be chaotic—especially for pets. Holiday festivities can disrupt a dog’s routine and potentially present dangerous circumstances. But by following a few common-sense tips, the holidays can be cheery for everyone—including the family dog.”

1. Avoid Christmas tree disasters. Christmas trees are a wonderful tradition, but they can lead to problems if you have a curious canine. 
a. Prevent the tree from tipping. Anchor it to the ceiling or wall. 
b. Hang non-breakable ornaments near the bottom of the tree. 
c. Tinsel can be deadly when eaten. It can twist in your dog’s         intestines and cause serious problems. Just don’t put it on         your tree. 
d. Don’t let your dog drink the Christmas-tree water. It often         contains chemicals to help the tree last longer; these chemical         can cause severe indigestion in dogs. 
e. Pine needles can cause health problems. If ingested, they         can puncture holes in your pet's intestines. Regularly sweep         up fallen pine needles to avoid a trip to the emergency animal         clinic.

2. Mistletoe, poinsettias and amaryllis are toxic. Be aware of these poisonous holiday plants and keep your pets away from them.

3. Keep “blowing” snow in the globe. Many snow globes contain antifreeze, which is extremely toxic to dogs—so it’s best to keep snow globes and all antifreeze out of the reach of a happy, tail-wagging dog. If there is an antifreeze spill of any kind, send your dog out of the room while you clean up the liquid. Dilute the spot with water and floor cleaner to make sure your dog does not lick these harmful chemicals later.

4. Holiday sweets are not dog treats. Candy, cookies, cakes, peppermints—and especially chocolate—can trigger life-threatening illnesses in dogs.

5. Make no bones about it. Cooked turkey and chicken bones are not for dogs as they can easily break and cause choking, and bone shards can get stuck in your dog’s gums. Stick with “bones” specifically designed for dogs to chew. Ask your local veterinarian for suggestions.

6. A relaxed dog is a good dog. Most dogs are excitable when guests arrive. Exercise your dog prior to the arrival of guests. After 30 minutes of walking or playing, most dogs will be more relaxed or ready to take a nap. As a general rule, it’s best not to allow the family dog to greet unfamiliar guests. Commotion and unusual circumstances can cause stress for dogs. Give your dog a break in a quiet room with a familiar doggie bed or blanket. Allow your canine companion to join the festivities after the initial commotion of arrival has subsided.

7. Keep the liquids flowing! When pets are stressed by unfamiliar circumstances, they typically pant more, so keep fresh water readily available for them to drink.

8. Beware of cold and snowy weather. While it might be convenient to put your dogs outside when guests arrive for holiday festivities, falling temperatures and snow can be dangerous to pets. In addition, never let your pet roam freely, as icy roads can make it hard for cars to stop if your dog wanders into the street.

9. Do not give pets as surprise gifts! A cute and cuddly puppy might seem the perfect gift choice, but many of these holiday presents end up at animal shelters. A dog takes a real commitment of time, and adoptive owners must be ready to participate in training and managing the responsibility of their new family member. If you know someone who’s serious about adopting a dog, consider giving a leash, collar or dog training certificate from Bark Busters, along with a note saying a dog of the recipient’s choice comes with it. This will help ensure the lucky person receives the dog he or she wants to have as part of the family.

10. Add your pet to your gift list. Help your dogs stay occupied and out of the holiday decorations by giving them their own gifts. The Buster Cube™ or a Kong™, for instance, are both nearly indestructible and will distract your dog for long periods of time.

This is the season for all things merry—and that includes our furry friends. Following these simple tips will help make the festivities safe and happy for our canine companions, too.


Liam Crowe is CEO of Bark Busters and a master dog behavioral therapist. Bark Busters, the world’s largest dog trainingcompany, has trained more than 400,000 dogs worldwide using its all-natural, dog-friendly methods. Bark Busters training is the only service of its kind that offers a written lifetime guarantee. With hundreds of offices in 41 states and 10 countries, Bark Busters is continuing its mission to enhance the human-canine relationship and reduce the possibility of maltreatment, abandonment, and euthanasia of companion dogs. For more details, call 1-877-500-BARK (2275) or visitwww.BarkBusters.com to find a dog trainer in your area, complete a Dog Behavior Quiz, or learn about becoming a Bark Busters franchise owner.

© copyright 2007 Bark Busters USA, All Rights Reserved

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