Bringing a big old tree indoors at Christmas is like extending an invitation to your dog to go potty in the house. Furthermore, it may be placed in front of a window or doorway that your dog uses as a watch position. All of those sparkly things hanging off the tree look like colorful chew toys just waiting to be gobbled up when no-one is looking. Certain dog breed, especially the herding type, become overly stimulated by flashing lights. Let’s not forget that once the tree is in place, even more sparkly things with ribbons and colorful paper get placed underneath. Something that looks so good must taste great, too, especially the ones that contain doggy treats and toys that make noise when the box is pushed.
The holiday season usually means that you become stressed and distracted, which is not the type of behavior that your pet is used to seeing from you. Here are some things you can do during the holidays to maintain the routine and cut back on potential damage:
Block access to decorated areas as much as possible, which can be done by strategically placing baby gates around the area you want left alone. If there are times when you can’t supervise, place the dog in a crate or a room where he can’t do damage. Only let home near decorated areas when you can supervise.
Feed and walk him at the same times you always do.
Don’t make any dietary changes, which means not letting him share in the family dinner and the scraps that come after.
If you do start to feel stressed, take time to play with your dog or give him a nice brush. You’ll be amazed at how relaxing that is.
If your dog does swallow an ornament or some other foreign object, do not try to induce vomiting. The sharp edges on these pieces can do real damage in both directions. Immediately call you vet and ask for advice on how to take care of the problem.
Try to avoid hanging tinsel or other stringy type decorations, as these can cause real problems if ingested. Your dog may end up requiring surgery in extreme cases. Keep the ornaments at a height that is out of his reach.
Be careful what you put in the water for your tree. Some things are toxic to dogs, and we all know he won’t be able to resist taking a drink.