Holiday Tips for Pets from ‘Ask Sydney”
Sydney is a rescue dog adopted by trainers, Suzanne & Trevor Mackay. Together they help other dogs and their owners achieve a more balanced and enjoyable relationship.
Once again my owners' extended family is coming over for Christmas. We have a lot to be grateful for, a family who really loves us, plays with us and takes us to Sunny Dog Place!
However, the guests that visit us sometimes create a problem. Last year Uncle Earl fed me so much turkey and gravy that I had a really bad tummy ache. Then Toby the Terrorist—OK, he's a terrier but he acts like a terrorist, invaded our guests' suitcases. He dove into Aunt Betty's stuff; many of her toiletries and lingerie were no match for his K-9 assault tactics. Boy, my owners and Aunt Edna were mad at us for days (I'm guilty by association).
I consulted with trainer Suzanne and with the holidays around the corner, and I'd like to share some tips to manage pets and people a little better this year.
Darla the Dachshund
All of us at Sunny Dog Place want you all to have a great holiday and a lot less stress. Consider these tips to help manage pets around your guests.
- Food: Let's face it, pets like to beg. Since you can't help it, I recommend that your owner make a house rule that anyone that wants to feed the table scraps save them in a bowl. Then when you get fed your regular pet food your mom or dad can take a small amount of the safe scraps—like little pieces of meat, rice or veggies (no bones or sugary foods) and place it in your bowl. You won't feel deprived and your folks will feel like they are still 'spoiling' you.
- Keep cookies, candies and other yummies up high, in the frig or somewhere where you and your other conspirators won't get to them. Veterinarians are full this time of year with pets with obstructed stomachs, diarrhea and other unpleasant ailments.
- Parties: I like parties, too, but if everyone is going to feed you things they shouldn't, let you drink beer (naughty!) or leave doors open, Sunny Dog Place is a great place for the dogs to have their own party!
- New Stuff: To keep your guests' stuff safe from Toby's search and destroy missions, put your guests' things in a closed room or closet and make sure the door stays closed. Also, since people may forget to put their stuff away, you and Toby should stay in the yard, on a tie down in the house (when people are home), or in a crate for a few hours at a time and be given some extra walks and playtime. When your owners have time, they can let you in the room with everyone when someone can watch you both.
- Trees and Other Holiday Things: It's perfectly logical that dogs and cats want to pee, claw, tip over trees and play with all the ornaments, knock over candles, open gifts before Christmas and generally play with all this cool stuff. The sound of ripping paper is music to their ears. Trainer Zan recommends:
- Candles that are battery operated (they look real).
- Artificial trees (they look real) with potpourri so they look and smell good (and don't dry out and catch fire).
- No tinsel or glass ornaments - use plastic or paper ornaments or just enjoy the beauty of a lighted tree.
- Presents come out on the holiday so little paws and claws do not open them.
I also know from my other doggie friends owners can get really busy around the holidays and distracted by their guests, so if that's the case, have them bring you to a doggie daycare or boarding facility for some fun of your own. You can have a good time playing with your doggie pals and no one will get into trouble this year. Have a safe and fun holiday and New Years!