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Holiday Care For Dogs

December 1, 2023

Happy Holidays! This time of year can get very hectic, with all of those seasonal events and the associated shopping, decorating, cooking, and other preparations to juggle. Your canine buddy will no doubt be quite aware of the changes in his schedule and environment, and may also be angling for extra treats. It’s important for pet owners to be aware of the potential hazards that can endanger Fido around the holidays. A local Roswell, NM vet lists some of the most common ones in this article.


Seasonal plants can make your home look especially cozy and inviting, but be sure to keep them out of paws’ reach. Many of the most popular ones are toxic to our canine companions. Some of these include poinsettia, mistletoe, holly, ivy, and peace lilies. Even fake plants are dangerous, as they can be choking or strangling hazards to Fido.


We all know that dogs are very, very enthusiastic about food. There’s nothing wrong with treating your furry best buddy to something special around this time of year. Just take care not to offer anything unsafe. Meat on the bone is one concern: cooked meat can break into razor-sharp shards that can cause serious—and even life-threatening—internal injuries if swallowed. Other unsafe options include garlic and onions; grapes, currants, and raisins; chocolate; caffeine; alcohol; raw dough; avocado and other pitted fruits; nuts; mushrooms; and anything containing xylitol or a lot of salt, fat, or sugar.


Don’t forget about Fido’s penchant for chewing on, well, everything. Some of those cute seasonal decorations can pose serious threats to a playful pooch. Keep anything small or sharp well out of paw’s reach. Items with ribbons, strings, ropes, or cords are also unsafe, as are plastic items. Many tree ornaments fall into those categories, as do things like string lights, ornament hooks, tinsel, and even presents. You may want to put a puppy gate around your tree and gifts.


Man’s Best Friend is a creature of habit, and can get quite distressed by changes in his schedule and environment. Company, commotion, and even that inflatable Santa in the yard may all upset your furry friend. Enjoy some quiet down time with your pup over the next few weeks. Remember to put a few things under the tree for Fido!

Our Advice on Holiday Care For Dogs in 2024

What are the potential holiday hazards for dogs should pet owners be aware of?

During the holidays, pet owners should be vigilant about potential dog hazards. If ingested, toxic seasonal plants like poinsettia, mistletoe, holly, and ivy pose risks. Foods such as chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, and anything containing xylitol or excessive fat, salt, or sugar can be harmful. Decorations, including tinsel, ornaments, and lights, may lead to choking or intestinal blockages if chewed on or swallowed. Additionally, stress from changes in routine or environment and risks associated with cooked bones, which can splinter and cause internal injuries, are essential to consider.

Which seasonal plants are toxic to dogs and should be kept out of reach?

Seasonal plants that are toxic to dogs and should be kept out of reach include poinsettia, mistletoe, holly, and ivy. These plants can cause various symptoms, from mild irritation to severe gastrointestinal upset or, in some cases, cardiovascular problems if ingested. Peace lilies, another popular holiday indoor plant, are toxic and can cause similar issues. Ensuring these plants are placed in areas inaccessible to dogs can prevent accidental ingestion and safeguard your pet’s health during the holiday season.

How can changes in routine and environment stress dogs during the holidays?

Changes in routine and environment during the holidays can stress dogs due to their reliance on consistency for a sense of security. The introduction of decorations, the influx of guests, altered schedules, and increased noise levels disrupt their daily patterns, leading to anxiety and confusion. Dogs may exhibit stress through excessive barking, hiding, or showing signs of restlessness. Maintaining as much of their routine as possible, including feeding and exercise times, and providing a quiet retreat can help mitigate stress and keep them comfortable during festive periods.

What measures can pet owners take to reduce their dog’s holiday stress?

To reduce holiday stress in dogs, pet owners can maintain a consistent routine, ensuring regular feeding, exercise, and sleep schedules, and providing a quiet, safe space where the dog can retreat from holiday noise and guests is crucial. Limiting the dog’s exposure to stressful situations, such as crowded gatherings, and avoiding drastic environmental changes help minimize anxiety. Calming activities, like gentle play or cuddle time, and using anxiety-reducing products such as pheromone diffusers or calming chews can also support their well-being during the busy holiday season.

Why is it beneficial to include dogs in holiday celebrations and gift-giving?

Including dogs in holiday celebrations and gift-giving is beneficial as it strengthens the bond between pets and their owners, enhancing the emotional connection and mutual affection. It acknowledges them as valued family members, contributing to their sense of belonging and well-being. Additionally, receiving gifts, such as toys or treats, can provide mental stimulation and physical activity for dogs, promoting their health and happiness. This inclusion also encourages positive behaviors by reinforcing their importance in family activities, creating joyful and memorable experiences for dogs and their owners.

If you have any questions about your dog’s health or care, please do not hesitate to contact us. As your local Roswell, NM pet hospital, we are here to help!