Dog Lovers' Holiday Survival Guide

Getting Through the Holiday Season With Your Dog

The holiday season can be both fun and stressful, but proper planning can help prevent the latter. Your dog can tell when you are stressed out, so it can affect her too. As the winter holidays approach, we can become overwhelmed with all the preparations that go into festivities and gift giving. However, your dog and loved ones just want you to be happy and healthy. So, make a list and check it twice, but don't go overboard. Learn how to make the holiday season go smoothly for you and your...MORE dog, whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Solstice or anything else.
  • 01 of 07

    Keep Your Dog Safe

    holiday dog and owner
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    First and foremost, you need to maintain a safe environment for your dog. With the holidays come new decorations, tempting foods and all kinds of trouble for a curious dog. We all want our dogs to be part of the celebration, but there are some important guidelines to follow. No one wants their holiday celebration to end up at the veterinary emergency clinic!

    No table scraps. Just because we humans like to indulge in the feast does not mean it is good for our dogs. Rich, fatty foods can seriously...MORE upset your dog's stomach and even be toxic. It is especially important to keep your dog away from the following dangerous foods, like onions, grapes, raisins, chocolate, alcoholic beverages, bones, and foods high in fat, sodium and/or sugar.

    There are some human foods that are okay for dogs, so if you want to give your dog a special treat you have some options. Try a small piece of cooked turkey or chicken without skin or bones (and hold the gravy and seasonings). Raw carrots and apples in moderate amounts are actually healthy for dogs.

    Watch the holiday decorations. Most dogs are curious by nature, so they will want to check out any additions to the decor. Sniffing can lead to chewing or even ingestion of foreign objects. Keep electrical cords tucked away and other decorations or holiday plants out of reach. Watch out for dangling objects that can be pulled down and cause injury. Candles should never be left unattended. Also, if you have a Christmas tree, don't let your dog drink the tree water as it can make her sick.

    Don't let your dog get lost in the shuffle. Holiday parties and gatherings can mean lots of commotion. This might be fun for you, but not for your dog. Lots of people in your home can result in injury or stress for your dog. A large crowd is not the place for most dogs, so consider keeping her in a crate or quiet room (especially if she is the nervous type). If she is comfortable around a smaller group, just make sure you set down the ground rules with your company: don't feed the dog and keep the doors closed! Sadly, many dogs run off and become lost during the holiday season. don't let yours be one of them.

    You and your dog can still enjoy the holiday season. Be sure to watch for any signs of illness and keep the vet's number handy. 

  • 02 of 07
    Friends and dog celebrating Christmas
    Mark Edward Atkinson/Tracey Lee / Getty Images
    Think the dog lover in your life has everything? Think again. Here are some gift ideas that should make just about any dog lover smile this holiday. If you still cannot decide what to give, do not fret. When in doubt, a gift card to the local pet supply store will be much appreciated.
  • 03 of 07
    best presents for dogs, dog gifts
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    Our dogs might not know it's the holiday season, but that doesn't mean they wont enjoy opening gifts. While some people may think that giving presents to dogs is "out there," most dog owners actually do give presents to their dogs. With all the hustle and bustle, your dog will enjoy the extra attention. Plus, getting a good laugh out of watching your dog tear into wrapping paper can be entertaining.
  • 04 of 07
    Picture of Dog in Gift Box - Gift Dog Photo
    Photo © Andersen Ross/Getty Images
    A new puppy in a bow on Christmas morning is the stuff of children's dreams. However, this is as far as it should go. As cute as it may seem to give a new dog as a gift, it can actually be a terrible idea. Holiday gift dogs can be soon forgotten like all the new toys and gadgets. Video games and dolls are one thing, but a dog is alive and in need of attention. If someone you care about is interested in getting a dog, give a book about dog ownership or a dog accessory as a gift. After the...MORE holidays, if that person is truly ready for a dog, you can go along to pick one out.
    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07
    For many of us, the holiday season means traveling. As a dog lover, you probably want to spend holiday time with your dog. But is bringing her along always the best choice? If you do decide to travel with your dog, make sure you make all the arrangements ahead of time and cover your bases. Last minute issues are bound to crop up, but proper planning can prevent holiday disaster.
  • 06 of 07

    The holiday season is a time of giving, and many of us want to reach out and help others. While pet charities need plenty of help all year long, the holiday season is a wonderful time to get started. You can help homeless, sick and unfortunate animals by volunteering your time, donating funds and supplies, or just setting a good example. Here's how to start giving back right now.

  • 07 of 07
    Cash, a four year old Husky-Lab mix in front of the Christmas tree
    Cash, a four year old Husky-Lab mix in front of the Christmas tree. Photo © Crystal Angelo

    Phew! After all that, it's time to take a break. Relax and check out some adorable photos of dogs that are ready for the holidays. These cuties have nothing to be stressed about, and we could learn a lesson or two from them.