Even during a pandemic, December means...the holidays are coming!
Regardless of what your holiday celebrations look like each year or this year in specific, the holiday season is a time of celebration, gifts, food, family, friends...and potentially chaos with an excitable SideKick thrown into the mix!
Being well into December already, it's unlikely that you'll have the time or desire to put a solid training plan in place to prepare yourself, your family, or your SideKick for the holidays, but there are a few things you can do to reduce headaches and worry to a minimum!
First, let's talk about the scary stuff...The holidays provide a lot of opportunities and interesting temptations for our SideKicks. When the humans are busy, bouncing around from room to room with meal-planning and cooking, and aren't paying close attention, the doggos strike! The biggest concern is, of course, things your SideKick may ingest, but there are also hazards associated with the holiday comings and goings and a variety of other one-off weird things due to the holidays.
Unsafe to Ingest
Unfortunately, lack of supervision and temptation can lead to some exciting (for your SideKick) opportunities to counter surf, grab things off the tables or from people's plates, etc. This may mean our SideKicks end up ingesting something that is harmful for them or that may even lead to a trip to the ER vet! Keep a close eye on the following things to make sure your SideKick isn't eating anything they shouldn't have:
Chocolate and candies (and the wrappers/packaging)
Grapes and raisins
Pain killers and medications
High fat foods
Decorations, Christmas trees, poinsettia, holly, mistletoe
Garlic and onions (and similar foods)
Garbage and recycling bins (best to just put these fully out of your dog's reach, so they aren't tempted to check on what they could find)
People Coming and Going
With guests, family members, friends, and neighbors coming and going during this holiday season and during celebrations, your dog - even if not usually a door dasher or runner - may be presented with extra opportunities to get out of the house for a walkabout town.
Be aware of doors opening, so your dog doesn't have the opportunity to escape - the back and front door, sliding or patio doors, the garage door(s), etc.
Make sure your pet is secured inside behind a gate or closed door, tethered to a person or a heavy piece of furniture, etc.
Assign one person to be responsible for the dog and keeping them in the house
Ensure that your dog is wearing their collar with ID and that the microchip information is up-to-date in the event that your dog does get out
The holidays generally mean we have extra things out that aren't usually there for the rest of the year or that your dog may have never seen before (if this is their first holiday season with you or if you've added to your collection during some pandemic online shopping...).