Be aware of holiday dog hazards | SierraSun.com

Be aware of holiday dog hazards

Special to the Sun

TRUCKEE/TAHOE,Calif. andamp;#8212;This is the time of year that keeps us on our toes around dogs and puppies. This is especially true with all the new and interesting things to investigate, all the visitors coming and going and all the great food treats left just within reach (and some that take a little more effort to reach).Keep in mind that dogs are like perpetual toddlers and need to be supervised or well managed at all times. Being proactive should help keep your canine (and feline) friends safer and healthier during this busy time. Here are a few tips that might help prevent mishaps:andamp;#8226; Have a safe and quiet place for your dog or puppy to be when you have guests over. Be sure to practice having them spend time in this place before all the activity happens so they are used to being there. To keep them occupied, you can stuff their Kong toys and freeze them prior to giving them to your dog. You can use food they are used to eating (if you feed fresh food, it will freeze easily; if you feed dry food, moisten it before freezing with chicken broth or water).andamp;#8226; If you or your pup cannot possibly think about being separated, you might want to consider keeping them closer to you by using an exercise pen, baby gate or their crate. andamp;#8226; Request of your guests not to not feed your dog, but if you have the kind of visitors who just canandamp;#8217;t resist, have some healthy dog treats handy for them instead.andamp;#8226; Consider using an exercise pen around the Christmas tree to keep pups away from the tree (including the water it is standing in), the ornaments, electric cords and gifts (especially if there is food in them). Or, you might want to consider blocking access to the room the tree is in when you are unable to supervise them.andamp;#8226; Be careful about sharing your delicious holiday food with your dog, especially if you donandamp;#8217;t already feed your dog fresh food. Be especially careful with excess fat such as turkey skin, which can cause pancreatitis (a horribly painful, and sometimes fatal, condition), as well as cooked turkey bones, chocolate and other sweets.andamp;#8226; Also be aware that some of the plants andamp;#8212; especially mistletoe andamp;#8212; that you have around your home this time of year can be toxic to your pets.Make a note of your veterinarianandamp;#8217;s number and the nearest emergency clinic and find out their holiday hours. Keep this near your phone as well as on your cell phone so it is handy in an emergency.Be sure your dog has a current ID tag on at all times and have a couple of good, current photos of him handy in the event he slips out and you need to make andamp;#8220;lost dogandamp;#8221; posters quickly.May this holiday season fill you and your beloved dogs with love, peace and joy.andamp;#8212; Jeanie Collins Duffield, CPDT, Canine Behavior Consultant, 530-400-DOGS (3647).