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While the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year for many of us, it is perhaps one of the most dangerous times of the year for our pets. Please remember our pets when decorating your home, entertaining or enjoying a wonderful holiday meal. Here are some tips I try to do during this time of the year, and I hope others will post their best tips as well.

Emergency Contact Information: Keep your veterinarian’s phone number handy in a safe place in case of emergency. While you are at it, jot down the closest Emergency Animal Clinic’s address and phone number just in case, as well as a Poison Control hotline just in case you need it. Remember poison control hotlines charge you for advice, but it may be worth it if your pet’s life hangs in the balance after an eating indiscretion. In an emergency seconds count, and keeping this information in a handy place will save time.
Here is a link to one poison control center—there are others out there as well. ASPCA | Animal Poison Control Center

Your Contact Information: Make sure to keep current contact information on your dog through tags, collars or a microchip. This is the time of year to entertain guests and sometimes our pets go through doors opened and not closed, wander and explore. If your dog is missing, current contact information is crucial to reunite you should a stranger or shelter find him.
Here is a good sticky on finding a lost dog: http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com/golden-retriever-lost-found/61501-finding-stolen-dogs.html

Also, consider contacting local golden rescues just in case someone finds your dog and turns him into a rescue group.

Mindful Decorating: Keep dangerous decorations out of reach of our pets. For example, tinsel and Christmas lighting can be dangerous, as are tiny objects that dogs might ingest. Liquid potpourri and candles are also dangerous. One of the veterinarians at the clinic we use has a wise man on her desk that came out of a dog last Christmas during an obstruction surgery. The dog found the nativity scene, ate one of the wise men and the owner did make the association until the dog started showing signs of gastric distress and the vet called to tell her what they found inside the dog’s intestines during obstruction surgery. Think about objects within a dog or cat’s reach on the tree or floor and move if necessary. I ended up removing our stockings for fear our Toby would try to grab them and knock down heavy stocking holders on his head. The water used to keep Christmas trees from drying is toxic as well. Candy dishes on tables with chocolates or mints might be too tempting for our pets as well.

Keep in mind many holiday plants, such as poinsettias, can be toxic if ingested by our pets. Here is a Sticky on Dangerous Plants: http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com/golden-retriever-health-anatomy-physiology-breed-standard/76905-toxic-non-toxic-plant-list-toxic-human-food-dogs.html

Mindful Eating: The above sticky also covers many foods that are dangerous for our pets. This is a busy time of year for veterinarians simply because people forget and give their pets a bite or two from their own holiday plates, causing severe stomach upset or worse, including colitis, toxicity and pancreatitis. Here is a sticky to get you started should your dog experience a stomach issue during this time: http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com/golden-retriever-health-anatomy-physiology-breed-standard/100015-what-do-about-stomach-upsets.html

Guests: This is the time of year we open our homes to guests and unfortunately some of our family, friends and guests are not “animal” people and do not understand the basics of keeping our pets safe and sound. If you are hosting a party, perhaps keeping the dog and cat away from the guests, in another room in the house or in a crate might prevent them going out an open door or eating something they should not. House guests may need a briefing on keeping the doors closed, personal belongings off the floor (think shoes, socks or underwear that your dog might snack on because they are left out), and not feeding the pet any human food without your prior approval. Also, if you are entertaining or hosting children in your home, please brief them and supervise if necessary.

Happy Holidays Everyone!! I hope everyone has a happy, healthy and safe one!
 

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Knife Swallower
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For dogs that don't usually wear collars or for crazy people like me who use collars for "decorative" purposes...make sure the actual collar with tags is on when people are coming into the house. Ranger might be sporting his snowman collar (with no tags) but when people are expected, he'll be wearing his boring leather one with his city tags, emergency contact info, and so on.

Also, make sure your dog(s) are secured - crate or leashed - if they tend to bolt out the door or aren't 100% trustworthy about open doors when guests arrive or leave.

Make sure turkey bones are in a garbage that the dogs can't get to since those smelly bones can tempt even non-garbage divers.
 
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Great info!

+1 on keeping collars with tags on. I take mine off here and there when running around the house but if they ever step outside they are the first thing that goes on
 

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For dogs that don't usually wear collars or for crazy people like me who use collars for "decorative" purposes...make sure the actual collar with tags is on when people are coming into the house. Ranger might be sporting his snowman collar (with no tags) but when people are expected, he'll be wearing his boring leather one with his city tags, emergency contact info, and so on.

Also, make sure your dog(s) are secured - crate or leashed - if they tend to bolt out the door or aren't 100% trustworthy about open doors when guests arrive or leave.

Make sure turkey bones are in a garbage that the dogs can't get to since those smelly bones can tempt even non-garbage divers.
Good points! I tend to forget about the holiday trash since we keep the trashcan on our counter top already due to an inquisitive family member. :doh:

Also, if you really don't like tags on collars because they mess up hardwood floors or the noise is annoying, consider getting some collars that can be personalized with embroidery for the dog's name and your telephone number and/or address. That's what we do for inside the house. We got ours at Drs Foster and Smith but there are many places that do this. Just remember to keep the contact information on the collar current.

Also, dogs don't belong outside on cold winter's nights, banished because of house guests--please consider crating or keeping them elsewhere in the house during this time!
 

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Kate
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Our vet info is on the front of the fridge, and every single family member knows the phone number by heart and can dial it automatically. Plus, the vet is just down the road, so...

Our dogs do not wear their collars indoors. It's not necessary. If they go outside, they will not go running without their people. <- But I totally second opinions about leaving the dogs outside around Christmas time. Seriously, would you kick grandma out there in the dark cold just because your guests didn't like her trying to sit in their laps? :)

We don't use tinsel on our tree - not because of our dogs, but because of our cat. Cats love sparkly dangly things. With our dogs, the main thing is keeping them out of the tree water.

One thing I wanted to add, and this is something that scares the heck out of me when we come home from church at 3 in the morning on Christmas and we see all of the people with their tree lights on.

If you are sleeping or away from home - turn all the lights off. It lessens the chance of dry trees or faulty wiring starting deadly fires.
 

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Will have to look into collars with the info embroidered on them. That would be nice a quiet inside and don't have to worry about when they go outside.

Thanks for the suggestion.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Will have to look into collars with the info embroidered on them. That would be nice a quiet inside and don't have to worry about when they go outside.

Thanks for the suggestion.
Dog Collars & Leads: Drs. Foster & Smith Personalized Dog Collars & Leads

We ended up getting several in different colors. We change them monthly, according to the seasons (he's in a green one now). They launder great (we use a laundry bag) and they are still going strong over 7 years later!
 
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