By Jackie Brenda, Dog Guru and Owner, Smelly Dog

Decorating for Christmas can be a wonderful experience for your entire family; however, take into consideration these tips to prevent your dog from getting hurt or causing a holiday mishap.

Everyone loves seeing the gifts wrapped with care under the tree awaiting the big moment to be opened, including your dog! Imagine coming home to your beautiful presents ripped and destroyed, or worse, a sick pup! Paper, cloth, ribbon, small toy pieces and ornaments can cause serious blockages in your dog’s intestines when swallowed. Consider leaving wrapped gifts up high, out of your dog’s reach.

It is common to put out holiday candy and treats for your family or guests to enjoy. Be sure to keep all human food and drinks out of the reach of your dogs. Chocolate, macadamia nuts, and alcohol are especially dangerous because they are poisonous. Any food which a dog eats too much of can cause vomiting and loose stool.

Christmas Tree, Oh, Christmas Tree, how dangerous you can be! If you have a live tree in your home, be sure to pick up loose needles, as they can puncture the intestines if swallowed. Also, the tree water needs to be contained, so that your dog can’t drink it, because it often contains fertilizers, preservatives and pesticides that can be poisonous to your dog. If your tree is artificial, make sure there are no brittle pieces that can fall off, as plastic and aluminum pieces can cause blockages. No matter what type of tree, it is recommended to keep a barrier between it and your dog. Placing the tree in a room that your dog cannot access or putting up a gate at the door or around the tree will keep your dog and tree safe from mishaps!

Lighting up the house also lights up your heart! But make sure you don’t light up Chloe! All cords should be taped securely to walls and floors and checked regularly for chew marks. A dog can sustain electrical shock or burns while chewing on these cords!

During this busy time of year, don’t forget about making time for your dog! When left alone, dogs often feel depression or anxiety and act out to get attention or release frustration. Since you will be away from the home often, shopping or attending holiday get-togethers, be sure to exercise your dog before you go! A long walk, romp in the park or a day of doggie daycare will leave your dog tired and content and away from your special needle-point ‘Noel’ pillow. Keeping up on their grooming is important too! A weekly brushing or bath is great bonding time with your pet and also prevents costly de-matting fees on your next visit to the groomer. Be sure to book your grooming appointment ahead of time, so that Max is not a matted mess for the big holiday family photo shoot!

With a little thought and preparation, your entire family, including the dog will have a festive and safe holiday season!