During this crazy busy holiday season, it's important to keep your dog in mind. Click through the jump for some awesome holiday tips from the one and only, Cesar Milan.
Prepare. Don't make it a last minute "pack-and-let's-go." Your dog will sense your anxiety and tension. Be ready days in advance, so that your dog has a normal experience before he has to get in the car or on the plane.
Don't feed your dog for at least 6 hours before plane travel. Some people recommend 8 or even a full 24 hours. However, make sure your dog has access to water – enough to keep hydrated but not full.
Use a soothing scent. Instead of using drugs, try reaching your dog through his nose! Lavender is a great scent that can relax the brain. Drugs can make a dog drowsy and may leave him feeling disoriented and uncertain how to establish himself in a new environment.
Go on a long walk. A recently exercised dog will be in a more relaxed state during any long trip.
Take a break. On a long car ride, stop every four hours during the day for your dogs to relieve themselves, move their organs, and learn that they're going to another environment. It is important for a dog to experience the different temperatures, smells, and feelings that come with a new environment. This will help make them feel that they are part of the process of moving to a new area. Once the sun goes down, you can go eight hours non-stop.
Can't bring your dog along? Find a good substitute pack. In a kennel, your dog should be immediately adopted as a member of the pack. The staff should be able to get your dog focused on what is there for him – and not leave him mourning over the fact that you left. It is a big deal for a dog to detach himself from a pack. The new pack should equal or better the pack he just left.
Tips For Around The Home:
Be aware of dangerous holiday items. The festive poinsettia causes dogs to vomit. Chocolate is a poisonous treat. And tinsel has sent many a dog to the emergency room, as it can easily cut up intestines. Paper-based tinsel is generally a safer option, but the plastic or metallic-based varities should not be used.
Protect your dog from the cold. Many breeds are not built to handle cold weather. Check out your local pet store for the many ways to handle this. You can buy doggie boots and gear made specifically for cold weather. There are also paw waxes that protect from the cold and aid your dog's grip on slippery surfaces like ice or snow.
Be cautious when around the fireplace! Animals are instinctual about fire; it is natural for an animal to stay away. However, during this holiday season, many owners like to dress their dogs up. Never use a product which may contain alcohol, such as hairspray, silly string, or entertainment paint, on a dog that will be around fire. Always be cautious near a fire with an animal that is wearing clothing. A stray piece of fabric can quickly cause the entire outfit to light on fire. A screen is a good way to keep a "done-up" pup safe. Also, never leave an animal alone in a room with a lit candle. As a general holiday precaution, test your smoke alarms, and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times!