Dog behavior specialist Cesar Millan shares eight tips to keep dogs happy and healthy through the holidays amid the parties, goodies, guests, and winter weather. They are:
Dogs should get plenty of outdoor exercise before guests arrive as visitors may elicit more excited energy from dogs than normal. Dogs who’ve just had a long walk are more likely to behave when guests arrive.
Rules, boundaries, and limitations
The holidays bring many new temptations, including the smells of holiday baking, the sights of bright lights and visiting relatives, and the sounds of Christmas carols and sleigh bells. Dog owners should take this opportunity to reinforce household rules.
Many dog breeds are not built for cold weather. Check with local pet stores to find items that help dogs brave the elements, such as doggie boots and paw waxes.
Use caution around fireplaces and candles. Dogs should never be left unattended around fire.
Hazardous holiday items
Poinsettias, chocolate, and holiday tinsel can cause dogs to become very ill if ingested. Be aware of Christmas tree ornaments – fragile ones should be places near the top of the tree where dogs can’t get to them.
Dogs know if food is contained in wrapped gifts. Ask guests in advance if their presents contain food, and if so, keep those gifts away from dogs.
Avoid giving puppies as presents
The whole family should have a basic understanding of the commitment and responsibility of pet ownership before taking in a new animal.
Include dogs in New Year’s resolutions
Commit to being a pack leader daily, practice exuding calm, assertive energy and work towards eliciting calm, submissive behavior from dogs.
For more tips from Cesar Millan, visit www.cesarmillaninc.com