AKC Facts and Stats

Tips for a Safe and Happy Holiday Season with Your Dog

  • Daily routines change during the winter holidays, but try to maintain a feeding and walking schedule as close to your dog’s normal routine as possible.

  • Avoid feeding your dog table-scraps and sweets. Chocolate contains harmful, and sometimes fatal, chemicals to dogs. Poultry bones can splinter and cause intestinal blockages.

  • Pets are attracted to the taste of anti-freeze, which can be lethal. Check driveways and wipe up leaks immediately.

  • Ice-melting chemicals and salt on sidewalks can irritate a dog's footpads. Wash off your dog’s feet as soon as you return home.

  • Avoid decorating with popcorn or cranberry strands, tinsel, and glass ornaments. Dispose of all wrapping paper, bows and ribbons after presents are opened. Keep small decorations out of your dog’s reach.

  • When decorating with holiday lights, remember that exposed indoor or outdoor wiring could electrocute a curious canine animal that chews on it. Tape wires to the wall or sides of the house.

  • Consider an artificial tree. Real Christmas trees may be toxic to dogs. Dogs find tree water tempting, so be sure to use pet-friendly preservatives in the water. Dogs also swallow pine needles which can be harmful. Plants such as poinsettias, holly and mistletoe can be poisonous to pets and should be kept out of reach.

  • Resist the urge to give your favorite dog lover a cute, cuddly puppy during gift-giving season. Puppies are a lifetime responsibility requiring exercise, training, veterinary care and – most importantly – love and attention. Instead, consider gift wrapping dog toys or supplies such as a leash, or food bowl to symbolize the gift of a dog to come.