Dog-friendly tips to make the season merry for all

dog-in-box.jpgIn the spirit of the coming season, Bark Busters, the world’s largest dog training company, offers its holiday tips to help keep dogs and their families safe and happy during the holidays.
“While most of us welcome the sights, sounds and smells of the season, holidays can also be chaotic—especially for pets,” said Tracy Thomson, Bark Busters dog behavioral therapist and trainer for the Long Beach area. “Holiday festivities can disrupt a dog’s routine and potentially present dangerous circumstances. But by following a few common-sense tips, the holidays can be cheery for everyone—including the family dog.”
1. Christmas trees are a wonderful tradition, but they can lead to problems if you have a curious canine. Please anchor your tree to the ceiling or wall to avoid tipping. Next, hang non-breakable ornaments near the bottom of the tree.
Also, tinsel can be deadly when eaten, so don’t put it on your tree. Consumption of Christmas-tree water or pine needles can lead to a trip to the emergency animal clinic. It often contains chemicals to help the tree last longer; these chemicals can cause severe indigestion in dogs. Regularly sweep up fallen pine needles and do not let your pet drink from the tree reservoir.
2. Many snow globes contain antifreeze, which is extremely toxic to dogs—so it’s best to keep snow globes and all antifreeze out of the reach of a happy, tail-wagging dog. If there is an antifreeze spill of any kind, send your dog out of the room while you clean up the liquid. Dilute the spot with water and floor cleaner to make sure your dog does not lick these harmful chemicals later.
3. Candy, cookies, peppermints—and especially chocolate—can trigger life-threatening illnesses in dogs.
4. Cooked turkey and chicken bones are not for dogs as they can easily break and cause choking, and bone shards can get stuck in your dog’s gums.
Stick with “bones” specifically designed for dogs to chew. Ask your local veterinarian for suggestions.
5. Most dogs are excited when guests arrive. Exercise your dog prior to the arrival of guests. After 30 minutes of walking or playing, most dogs will be more relaxed or ready to take a nap. As a general rule, it’s best not to allow the family dog to greet unfamiliar guests. Commotion and unusual circumstances can cause stress for dogs. Give your dog a break in a quiet room with a familiar doggie bed or blanket. Allow your canine companion to join the festivities after the initial commotion of arrival has subsided.
6. When pets are stressed by unfamiliar circumstances, they typically pant more, so keep fresh water readily available for them to drink.
7. A cute and cuddly puppy might seem the perfect gift choice, but many of these holiday presents end up at animal shelters. A dog takes a real commitment of time, and adoptive owners must be ready to participate in training and managing the responsibility of their new family member.
If you know someone who’s serious about adopting a dog, consider giving a leash, collar or dog training certificate from Bark Busters, along with a note saying a dog of the recipient’s choice comes with it. This will help ensure the lucky person receives the dog he or she wants to have as part of the family.
“‘Tis the season for all things merry—and that includes our furry friends,” said Thomson. “Following these simple tips will help make the festivities safe and happy for our canine companions, too.”
For more information, call 1-877-500-BARK (2275) or visit, where dog owners can complete a Dog Behavioral Quiz to rate their dogs’ behavior.

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