Keeping Your Dog Healthy Over the Holidays

November 29 2016

Social gatherings, festive décor, and extra travel time make the holidays a hectic time of year for you and your dog. This busy season can make it easy to lose focus on your pet, but a few simple steps can keep them out of trouble. Trupanion, a medical insurance provider for dogs and cats, shares some top holiday health concerns and how to avoid them.

Decorate with Your Dog in Mind

If your dog likes to put just about anything in his mouth, keep a close eye on your holiday decorations. Trupanion sees 10% more foreign body ingestion claims in November and December than other times of the year. Ornaments and string lights can be tempting for a curious pup and Christmas tree water can upset their stomach. A rambunctious dog can also easily topple candles from the fireplace or tablespace. Know your dog and decorate your home with them in mind. Popular holiday plants like poinsettia and mistletoe are also toxic to dogs—who may be tempted to nibble on a leaf. Trupanion sees 24% more toxicity claims in December than any other time of the year, but these hazards are easily avoided with a little careful planning.

Watch the Winter Weight

Just like us, our pets tend to pack on the pounds during wintertime. Keep a close eye on your dog’s weight, especially during the holidays, when guests try to feed them table scraps and you feel the urge to shower them with treats. It’s also important to continue your dog’s exercise routine, despite busy schedules and colder weather. Look for alternate options to keep them active like feeding with puzzle toys, or simply bundling up before you go outside for a walk. Reduced activity and extra snacks increase the likelihood that your pet will gain some weight this winter.

Rid Your Home of Dangerous Delights

Dangerous treats like chocolate, cooked bones, and fatty foods are not hard to find around the home during the holidays, and they are not good for your dog. Try not to leave any chocolate wrapped under the tree and be sure to advise guests against feeding your dog any scraps. Pumpkin, sweet potato, and peanut butter are great alternatives if you want to treat your pet.

Prepare Ahead of the Holidays

The best way to avoid holiday hazards is to prepare your pet and yourself ahead of time. Work on basic training and set some boundaries as you transition into the holidays.

When it comes to the unexpected, medical insurance can be a great idea for you and your dog. During a hectic holiday season, the last thing you want to think about is how to get the best veterinary care for your dog, should they swallow a turkey bone or chew on some festive lights.

By keeping some of these simple steps in mind, you and your dog can have a worry-free holiday season. 

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