Planning ahead for your dog’s holiday safety

The busy holiday season is quickly approaching. For many families, that means decorations, hosting others and traveling. While the festivities are happening, what do you do with your dog?

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. It is estimated that over 43 percent of American families have a dog, and during the holiday season their comfort and safety is a dynamic to stop and consider as plans are made. Allowing youth to take responsibility to make appropriate plans for your families’ dog’s safety is a great way to practice life skills in responsibility and planning.

The holiday season often kicks off with decorating and baking. Make sure your dog will be safe from ingesting things they should not. With new temptations, like presents, trees and tasty human treats, dogs should be closely monitored to make sure they are not getting into any of these things. Remember, they are naturally curious animals. It is a great practice to keep baked goods in containers and set up barriers around trees and other decorations to reduce the temptation.

If you are planning to host others at your house for celebrations, remember that dogs are territorial by nature. They may not be comfortable with new people and hosting festivities could be very stressful for them. To prevent any stress on your dog, provide them with a quiet, comfortable space they are familiar with where they can stay in while others are in your home.

Some dogs are very social and love visitors, but others are not; know your dog’s personality and respond accordingly. It is your responsibility as a pet owner to make sure your pet is safe and comfortable as well as your guests.

Lastly, if you are planning on traveling, have you made plans for your dog? Will you have someone take care of them in your home? Will you board him or take them to another person’s house to stay? Whatever you decide to do, make sure your dog is well taken care of.

Taking the time to plan ahead will make a world of difference as you prepare for the holiday season.

To learn more about Michigan 4-H Animal Science Programs, please visit Michigan State University Extension’s Animal Science page.

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