While holidays from Thanksgiving to Christmas time are happy, busy times for families and friends, there are pet dangers lurking during this season. 

Food items dangerous to dogs include onions, raisins, grapes, alcohol, chocolate, caffeine, fruit pits and seeds, sharp bones from the turkey, yeasty dough for bread, macadamia nuts, nuts in shells (cause intestinal blockages), and xylitol.

A number of holiday plants – especially poinsettias, which are mildly toxic – are dangerous as well.

Hazardous items surround the Christmas tree, including ribbon, wire hangers for ornaments, ornaments, candles and more. There are more emergency trips to the veterinarian this time of year than any other season except summer.

From a dog’s perspective, there is food everywhere and always people to play with from the end of November to the beginning of the New Year. It might be fun but can also be disruptive. 

Dogs are by nature creatures of routine and change doesn’t sit well. Potty training for a puppy can be disrupted, and, in an older dog, excitement can lead to digestive issues and possibly even destructive behavior. 

With kids at home or having visitors, even the routine changes such as nap times and walks mess with their sense of time. If they are used to family being at work or school during the day and now everyone is home – well, there goes their accustomed routine. 

The ideal situation is to keep to the dog’s regular schedule as best as possible. With the changes to sleep patterns, people, exercise and food, expect that your dog may exhibit some unusual and unwanted behaviors. Usually they get back to normal once the holidays are over.

Give your dog a quiet space to retreat to so they can get away from activity. Play to tire them out before guests arrive and make sure they have a long walk. Do not over feed them with goodies. 

Turkey, although a healthy food for most dogs, can also wreck their digestion, potentially making them have malaise or even diarrhea. 

If kids are running around the house, your dog might chase and nip them. Have kids play outside or put your dog outside if possible. If this can’t be done, then play time for kids might be appropriate nap time for the dog.

Keep your dog away from tables or food preparation areas since you will not likely see if they steal something. Feed them at their regular times but possibly move their feeding area to somewhere quiet. 

Never let small children mess around with the food bowl! If you do have small kids roaming the house, make sure they have long toys to play with the dog to keep the dog’s mouth away from their small body parts. 

Try not to have kids walk around with food since most dogs can’t resist the temptation and may steal it – and in the process may accidentally nip or graze a child’s hands. 

If you are really careful, this holiday season will be enjoyed by humans as well as canines.

Abby Bird is owner of Alphadog Training Academy. AlphadogTrainingAcademy@gmail.com