Keeping Your Dog Safe During the Holidays

As much as the holiday seasons are a breath of fresh air from work, school and routine life, you must admit it does get a little tough sometimes when it’s the Christmas holidays. If you live in total isolation you might be fine, but if you have even the tiniest family to cater for you’ll see there are so many things to check off your to-do list. Now, when it al swoops in, it’s going to be tougher to keep an eye out for your dog’s safety for obvious reasons. Hence, I was moved to make this guide (or tips if you like) to be a personal reminder for you. Here we go:

DEALING WITH GUESTS

If you are going to have a few guests around the home during the holidays, which is more likely than not, do well to secure your dog from the crowd. Small dogs can easily get trampled upon when there is a crowd of jolly people. For the sake of your guests, you don’t want your dog getting anxious around that many people and snapping or attacking. The better option is often to keep your dog away from the guests than letting it roam freely.

Also, it’s quite easy with all of the merry making that your dog could slip through the door or a guest could leave a door or patio door open which could be very tempting to a curious four-legged family member!

There is also the danger that those guests could think it’s a good idea to slip your pup a bit of food or even drink!  And, even the most well-intentioned guest might give them something that could be a choking hazard.

This is by no means a call to abandon your little guy when you have guests. Do check on your dog from time to time to see how the little chap is doing. Keep him on an easy latch surrounded with safe toys. One more thing, keep all gates closed and locked.

DECORATIONS

Small ornaments, garland, tinsel, bells, and ornament hooks can be choking hazards and very dangerous for your dog.  Be on the look out for those hooks that can get left around the base of the tree and also look for any places that those curious noses might get tangled up in, too.

If you have a live tree, be vigilant about cleaning up those pine needles and watch the water the tree is sitting in.  Often the mixture to keep the tree moist, can be tempting for you dog to taste and cause them to be very sick.

EATING HABITS

There are going to be a bunch of items turning up where you don’t want them during the holidays. Dogs are chewers and will require no second invitation to get every piece of item that looks like their food o r toy into their mouth. It is sadly a very swift setup to get your dog chewing and even swallowing items like metal hooks, decoration ornaments, or plants like the Poinsettias that would hurt them. It is recommended that you apply a little prudence with decorations around your dog. You may suspend them at a higher altitude from your dog’s reach.

They can’t have human food too many times either. It can be tough turning down your dog when s/he looks on as you enjoy some holiday food but be strong. Some human foods are not very healthy for your dog’s consumption. If you have no idea how a meal makes your dog feel, just don’t, okay?

HOME ALONE

If the holidays have you traveling and there’s no way to bring your little furry family member with you, then be sure to have someone responsible to watch them.  Often this doesn’t mean your neighbor’s kid unless they are already old enough, responsible enough, and have a relationship with your dog.  Being left with someone they don’t know, can be very scary for your dog and can be an overwhelming responsibility to someone not familiar with the proper care, feeding, and personality of your dog.

Never leave them home alone or without someone to check-in on them (and that’s only for short periods of time you might bring in a trusted dog sitter).

And, remember, the holidays is all about family and your four-legged family member IS a part of your family.  If you can bring them along, do! Many airlines have options for smaller breeds and now there are more dog friendly hotels that will allow you to have your dog with you for a fee.

And, it’s worth it!

Nothing’s more satisfying then to spend your holidays surrounded  by all your family members!

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The Best Reasons to Adopt Senior Dogs

Dog lovers and why your should adopt senior dogs

It can be exciting to invite a new puppy into the home. They’re all full of energy and just want to explore the world around them. This often makes them the target of potential dog owners who want to adopt them into their lives. And in any case, providing a home for a dog is a great thing to do.

But the truth is, it’s just as great to adopt a senior dog as it is to adopt a puppy. These seniors have a lot of character that goes overlooked, especially at a shelter. What you should know is that seniors may have just the right qualities to fit comfortably in your home, and can provide you with the ideal companionship matched with your lifestyle.

Easy to expect

With seniors, you already know what to expect. Unlike a puppy, seniors are fully grown and have fewer changes to face in the future. In most situations, this applies directly to size. Consider a situation in which you rent housing. A puppy may start out below the lease’s required limits, but a senior will match and hold up without leaving you worrying about them outgrowing their stay.

Appetite is another thing. Young puppies will inherently demand more food as they grow bigger. With a senior dog, you already know what to expect, which means no unexpected bursts in hunger or even mood swings.

Teaching old dogs new tricks

Another considerable benefit is that seniors don’t require the same attention that young puppies or growing ones require. Needless to say, the need to monitor them isn’t a 24/7 job. They’re often potty trained as well, and while the details won’t be the same (such as their potty location), the basics are already covered, making training a much simpler task to achieve.

Additionally, other housetraining situations are also much kinder on your homestead. For the most part, you skip the teething years, which are often the worst on furniture and cushions as any dog-parent that has raised a puppy can vouch. In essence, seniors tend to be less destructive than their younger counterparts, and are often relaxed and more focused on spending time enjoying your company.

And who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Older dogs inherently want to focus on you and provide the best attention, whereas young puppies and even mature adults are intrigued by the whole world. This extra attention may be just the thing you were looking for after a long day at work. They want to warm up with you and perhaps enjoy a good rub down while you enjoy the feel of their fur and companionship they provide while you unwind after a long day at work.

Getting along

Older dogs tend to get along better with everyone, both people and pets included. They’ve been around, have grown wiser, and often settle into their new homes very easily because they already know what it takes to become a part of a family. In many cases, introducing a senior dog to other pets is easy, since they’re often much more focused on fitting in and less competitive.

For the most part, they enjoy the more relaxing aspects of life. Not everyone has time to entertain an active puppy, spending time training and introducing them to the entire world. Senior dogs don’t want to conquer the world around them (they already have), they just want to enjoy some time with their companions and have some fun in the process.

But, that isn’t to say that seniors aren’t active. Every dog, both young and old, needs to experience an active lifestyle. Though they may have slowed down a little, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to get out and enjoy some activity. It just means that they’ve never done it with you, and that’s the best part of finding a new friend.

Most importantly, taking in a senior dog saves a life. Older dogs are often the last ones to be adopted at a shelter, and the older they are, the less likely it becomes they will find a happy home. Saving a life offers an emotional return in itself, and can be amongst the most rewarding parts of the adoption process.

If you’re considering adopting a dog, consider one that has some experience under their collar (pun intended). They may not have grown up with you, but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy their life with you. And sometimes, you might find they have a few tricks they can teach you if you keep your mind and heart open.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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Guests and Your Dog

Dog lovers and your guests

It’s a fact that not everyone is a dog lover. While we may not know any right off hand, every now and then we meet new people and sometimes invite them over for a cup of coffee or a chat to get to know them better.

So what happens when your guests don’t take to your pup the way you’d hoped? Perhaps they seem a little intimidated or maybe they just outright ask you to lock your pup up so they can come in. Some pet owners might be appalled, while some may be more understanding. But if you’re expecting guests, there are a few things to consider, especially if you think your visitors aren’t “dog-people.”

Be prepared

First of all, make sure that your guests know you are a dog owner. The last thing you want is an unexpected surprise situation. Knowing their preferences will allow you to alter your plans or make adjustments prior to their visit. It’s respectful and won’t hurt anyone’s feelings.

What if they’re already at your door though? Perhaps a repair man shows up or even a traveling salesman knocks on your door. Luckily, most repair companies have become accustomed to asking if you have pets in your house prior to the visit, so be sure that you disclose this information to them (no need for details such as size or breed).

What you can do for surprise visits

But what happens if your guests show up and don’t take to your dog as expected. They may be intimidated by their size or even the breed. Though you may be sure your dog is the sweetest pup out there, there are many breeds which can seem a little intimidating, such as the Mastiff or Rottweiler, at first appearance.

The best technique is to not let your dog greet guests at the door. This can often intimidate both parties, and that’s not a good situation for your pup to experience. Instead, keep your dog back and introduce them after your guests have entered the home. Watch their body language and stay with them upon introductions, just in case your dog doesn’t like their presence. In most cases, dogs will want to investigate initially, but will quickly return to their regularly scheduled program.

Too excited

Of course, some conditions can be a little annoying, even for you. If your dog is overly excited, practice the introductions slowly. If you let them greet visitors at the door, they can show initial signs of aggression (they can sense when others are uncomfortable) or just downright want to hop into their arms and be their best friend.

In these instances, some owners prefer to keep their dogs behind a pet-gate where they can still see the activity but won’t be able to approach the guests. While it might seem restrictive for your pup, it often helps reduce anxiety and allows your guests to relax without a pup dancing all around them.

Dog allergies 

What if your guests are allergic? Just because your visitor seems uncomfortable with your dog, doesn’t mean they don’t like them. Many people, even dog owners, are allergic to dogs. In this case, it’s best to try to make your guest as comfortable as possible. And keep in mind that just because your dog isn’t present, doesn’t mean allergies won’t kick in, so confining your dog isn’t the best solution.

Instead, give your dog a bath. Allergies aren’t from dog fur as commonly believed. They’re actually from your dog’s dandruff (flaky skin) and even urine (which you hopefully keep outside or in their litter box). And 99% of dust is skin, which means that cleaning your dog and your house will greatly reduce allergy tendencies (a helpful hint for allergenic dog owners out there).

Cleaning house before visitors would consist of vacuuming the carpet and couches to pick up any dust or pet dander that is just lying around. Additionally, it’s best to keep lint-brushes handy for your guest’s use to ensure that they aren’t taking any allergies home with them. In most cases, if you can make your guests feel comfortable in your home, you’ll find that they may actually enjoy being around your dog, too.

Always remember that not everyone enjoys being around dogs or even other pets. But it’s your responsibility, to both your dog and your guests, to make sure that everyone knows the rules of your home before you make any plans. But as long as you can make everyone feel comfortable, you’d be surprised at how many people like dogs more than they thought they did.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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