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Alta Vista Veterinary Clinic

4 Ways to Survive the Holidays With a Puppy

A puppy and its owner
During the holiday season, your puppy is introduced to many new sensory experiences. Unfortunately, many holiday-related items are hazardous to dogs. Keep your young canine safe during social events in your home by following these four tips.

1. Train Your Pup Before Events

Hazardous holiday materials are often placed on tables and counters. Train your puppy not to jump up on tables and counters. Only offer treats when all four paws are on the floor. Never give a treat or a head pat when the puppy places paws on you or a counter.

Say, "Down" very sharply when your dog jumps on you or others. Do the same when your puppy tries to jump on tables or counters.

Send your puppy to a safe zone when they won't obey the command to get down. Purchase a large, sturdy dog crate and teach your puppy a simple command to go to their crate for correction or a break. Give your puppy a treat each time they correctly go to the crate. Eventually, your puppy will go to the spot on command without the need for treats.

Another key puppy command is, "Leave it." This command tells your dog to leave any food - or other items - that is on or near the floor. Start teaching this command when your dog begins exploring items indoors and on walks outdoors. Be kind but firm when insisting your dog drop an item from their jaws.

2. Create a Safe Space

Shield your puppy from the perils of parties by creating a safe, calm area for your pet to hang out. Select a room away from the noises and smells of your party. Furnish the room as a comfy puppy nest. Make sure you can close the puppy off from visitors.

If your puppy loves their crate, place it in the safe room. Leave the crate door open so your puppy can go in and out of the crate at will. Place puppy-safe chew toys, blankets, and stuffed toys in the space. If your puppy has separation anxiety, place an item of your clothing in the room.

Check on your puppy from time to time during the party. Your puppy will be away from the fun, but they will also be spared injury or illness from well-meaning and rambunctious party-goers.

3. Practice Party Vigilance

If you decide to allow your puppy to join your holiday events, puppy-proof your event spaces. Avoid placing food trays and plates on coffee tables and other low surfaces. Use cocktail tables and high counter tops to display food platters.

The following holiday foods are dangerous for puppies:
  • Dark chocolate
  • Candy sweetened with xylitol
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Mace (nutmeg)
  • Raw meat, fish, and poultry
  • Raw bread dough
  • Caffeine, alcohol, and medications
The above is only a partial list of foods that can cause serious harm to your puppy. Avoid serving these items at your party, and request that guests do not feed any scraps to your dog. Monitor your event to ensure guests don't leave plates, dirty napkins, and other tempting items where your puppy can reach them.

4. Appoint a Party Guardian

Assign a responsible teen or adult to puppy-sit your dog during the party. Some of the most expensive holiday decorations can be harmful to puppies and expensive for you to replace due to your puppy's curiosity or clumsiness. Glass ornaments, tinsel, and electrical cords can all be dangerous if your dog chews or swallows them.

A party guardian will protect your puppy from their own impulses to chew dangerous objects. A puppy-sitter will also keep your puppy from being stepped on, fed dangerous treats, or accidentally let outside unattended.

Schedule your puppy for a pre-holiday checkup, immunizations, or neutering in Hayward, Castro Valley, and San Lorenzo, California by contacting Alta Vista Veterinary Clinic today. We also offer dog boarding to keep your puppy safe during your daytime and overnight holiday events.