Holiday Guide for Dog Owners

Keeping them safe and healthy this holiday season

The holidays are a time of celebration and joy, but they can also be stressful for dog owners. With guests coming into your home, strange new smells in the air, and more activity than usual it’s important to make sure that your dog is prepared for all of this change. Let’s go over some tips on how to prepare your dog for the holiday season so you can have a happy dog during one of the happiest times of year!

Crate Training

Often thought of as a house training tool, the crate is also meant to be a safe space for your dog to get away and have time on his own. The crate is also helpful when you’re not able to supervise and will prevent him from getting into things like the garbage, or the gift Santa left for him!


Keeping to your routine as much as possible will help your dog cope with the many changes that the holidays bring. Keeping to their regular walk routine will also help mitigate unwanted behaviour caused by excess energy and boredom. You may also want to include some other exercises that your dog loves, but may not always have time for such as fetch, trail walks and runs, as well as special food toys and games.

New Guests in Home

Don’t forget, this is your dog’s home too! Having new people coming and going can increase his stress and cause him to act out in ways he wouldn’t normally. If your dog is likely to jump on guests, keep him in his crate until he and everyone is settled down and then bring your dog out to greet everyone. It’s also important to recognize when your dog isn’t interested in being social and respecting that. Asking your guests to give your dog his space is just good dog parenting. 

Holiday Gifts

I always recommend dog-proofing your gifts before giving them to your dog! Dogs can’t tell the difference between an expensive toy and a $15.99 squeak toy from the pet store so it’s important that we teach them. Instead of getting excited and taking the toys away, give your dog something he can have and get really excited about the new toy instead. 

Separation Anxiety 

If your dog gets anxious or scared when being left alone, consider having them be taken care of by a friend or family member. There are also many boarding and day care facilities which can help ease your mind when you need to be away from your furry friend for an extended period of time. Pet sitters, dog walkers and even neighbourhood teens or tweens are also possibilities. 

Eat This, Not That

Cooked turkey bones can splinter and can cause obstructions or worse in your dog so avoid giving them to your pooch. Instead, cook the gizzards separately and give your dog their own holiday feast. Here are some other foods to avoid and healthy alternatives: 

Chocolate – give them a Kong stuffed with natural peanut or 

another nut butter.

Cooked Bones – give them raw bones, such as turkey or chicken necks, flat rib bones, or beef neck bones.

Sugar Free Candy – give them chicken or duck feet (raw or freeze dried).

Uncooked Bread Dough – give them cooked buns soaked with broth, or a small amount of gravy.

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