Lotsa Dogs Lotsa Fun

Lotsa Dogs Lotsa Fun
The Big Dogs Wait at The Door

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Here Come the Holidays!

Hanukkah and Christmas
So it's the holidays. Christmas cookies, potato latkes, fruit cakes, punch bowls, chocolate Santas and Hanukkah gelt: whatever your tradition, it surely involves rich treats. So this is also the time of the year to remind ourselves that holiday treats are dangerous for dogs.

This is true almost without exception. Chocolate is downright toxic and can kill your dog, if she consumes a lot of it.  Other holiday specialties will make her ill in varying degrees.  Alcohol is a disaster.  It's not funny to watch your dog lap up spiked eggnog.  Really, it isn't. It could make her suffer, and could transform your holiday into a vigil at an animal hospital.

Similarly, dogs can’t digest oily latkes, or shortening-rich fruitcake. Mostly, what goes in comes out, the latter inevitably in the middle of the night, after you’ve stayed up partying and are exhausted. So make, and keep, a rule that the dog only gets treats that are meant for her. Festive holiday dog treats are available at pet stores everywhere. Take advantage, and make sure your family understands whose treats are whose!
Here are 5 tips to help avoid an emergency vet visit and enjoy your Hanukkah:
1.  Sufganiyot – Otherwise known as doughnuts, they are filled with artificial sugars, jelly, fat, and empty calories. They’re a delicious treat for us, but can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and decreased appetites for
dogs. Be very careful to not let your canine buddy get any of these doughnuts and make sure he can’t counter surf and lick up ingredients that are lying about.

2.  Latkes – They are savory and they taste amazing, but they have onion in them. Onions can cause anemia in dogs.  Also, the oil, sour cream, and other ingredients are bound to upset your dog’s stomach.

3.  Chocolate coins – This is a traditional candy that children receive, and they’re wrapped in shiny gold and silver foil. The foil, chocolate, and netting that they come in can be dangerous to your dog’s entire GI tract. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which dogs cannot digest, and in extreme cases they can be fatal. If your dog swallows the foil and net bag, induce vomiting immediately.  A teaspoonful of diluted hydrogen peroxide in an eye dropper will do the trick.

4.  Dreidels – They’re great toys for kids and but you don’t want your dog in the game.   She’ll want to join in the fun and try to pick the dreidel up in her mouth. If your dog swallows a dreidel, or any small object, induce vomiting and call the vet. Keep all game pieces out of your dog’s reach.
: The Menorah – This is an essential symbol for Hanukkah, but the candles that you light each night pose a danger if your dog likes to jump up, leap over things, or generally race around the house. The menorah could fall over or singe her nose or fur.  Keep the menorah up high and out of pup’s reach. Make sure it’s on a stand or other stable surface so if your dog comes galloping into the room, she doesn’t shake it loose and start a fire.

And here are some tips to make Christmas fun for your family and the dog:
First, be aware of holiday hazards, and supervise your dog when he's exposed to them. For example tinsel, Christmas lights, wires, glass ornaments, poinsettias, mistletoe, and other holiday decorations can be deadly if chewed.  Don't leave pup alone with any hazardous materials, not even for a minute!  You don’t want Christmas to be interrupted by an emergency visit to a veterinary hospital.

To help pup share in the fun, place dog-safe toys and ornaments on the bottom branches of your tree, and let him play with them.   You can find them at any pet store.  Attach them with string, not wire. And beware of chewing on evergreen branches or pine needles.

Of course, he’ll make every effort to convince you to share your Christmas pudding, don’t give in!  Dogs' digestive systems are quite different from ours.  Their intestines are much shorter, and they digest very quickly, a trait left over from the wild where it was necessary to get protein into the system quickly. They absolutely cannot process ingredients that we take for granted, such as nuts, holiday spices, and hydrogenated fat.  So, if you don't want to get up at 4 am on a cold winter’s night, limit your pup to treats that are intended for him.
So, what about dress up? By all means! Hats, suits, collars, boots, it's all good. Just remember that dogs in costumes should be supervised at all times.  Left alone, they may treat their adorable dreidel coat or reindeer antlers as toys, which means “chew baby, chew!” And dog accessories are definitely not safe for eating.

So have a fun, happy holiday season - and help your pup to have one too!

Holiday puppies: a big no-no!

By November, your local puppy store is in high gear. They’re out to convince you that puppies make the perfect holiday gift. What could be cuter than a new puppy on Christmas morning?  Or a cuddly new family member the first night you light the menorah?

Actually, it would be hard to make a worse choice! Reputable breeders are loath to sell in December, because they know that by February the puppy is likely to find himself abandoned in a dog shelter or, if he's lucky, returned to the breeder.
The holidays are a busy, stressful time and people are exhausted.  It's a time when we struggle to meet our regular commitments, along with preparing for the holidays.  It's certainly not a time to take on the work of a new puppy. 
A couple weeks into January, the kids will be back in school, mom and dad will be rushing off to work every morning. The weather will make you want to hibernate.   Just when everyone could use a break, that adorable puppy will be soiling the carpets, chewing on furniture, stealing food, throwing up in baskets of clean laundry, and  generally acting out of control.

If your family is ready for a dog, wait until February or March when things have calmed down, and warmer weather is on the way.  Cold weather makes house training difficult, if not impossible; and the spirit of the season prevents you from making a realistic decision about a new dog. In the spring your family will spend more time outside, and feel a greater inclination to train the new family member.

Check out these dog links!
The Doggie Den Homepage

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