Keep Your Dog Safe During Hectic Holiday Season: Expert

Also a good idea to to put off getting that new puppy

SATURDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Christmas can be a stressful and dangerous time for dogs, according to the American Kennel Club.

The holidays are also not a good time to bring a puppy into your home. In fact, many responsible breeders do not breed litters with a Christmas delivery date, according to one expert.

"Bringing a puppy into your life in the 'off-season' is a safer alternative than exposing a new puppy to holiday dangers in the home. Consider gift wrapping dog toys or supplies such as a leash or food bowl to symbolize the gift of a puppy to come," AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson said in a club news release.

She noted that puppies are a full-time responsibility and they require a great deal of time, attention and love during their first few weeks in their new home. People have disrupted and hectic schedules during the holidays, making it extremely difficult to set aside the time needed to properly care for a puppy.

The AKC offered some tips to keep your dogs safe and happy during the holidays:

  • Make sure that visitors know to keep doors closed to prevent dogs from escaping.
  • Don't use food such as popcorn or cranberry strands when decorating your Christmas tree or home. If dogs eat them, they can cause blockages that may require surgery to remove.
  • Place anything shiny -- such as ornaments, tinsel, glass bulbs -- higher up on your tree where your dog can't reach them.
  • Real poinsettias, holly and mistletoe are poisonous to pets and should be kept out of your dog's reach. Make sure your dog doesn't swallow needles from a real Christmas tree or drinks the tree water, which can cause stomach irritation.
  • Tape indoor wires to the wall and outdoor wires to the side of the house where your dog can't reach and chew them.
  • Common holiday foods such as chocolate, butter, meat and candy can make your dog very sick. Keep these foods out of your dog's reach.

More information

The Partnership for Animal Welfare has more holiday pet safety tips.

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