Having recently Imageacquired two dogs and worked on a Purina Trinidad & Tobago initiative, I’ve gained a new awareness of responsible dog ownership. Hence, this quick list of tips for happy dogs for the holiday season.

Eight Tips for Happy Dogs for Happy Holidays

Holiday time is an exciting time full of family and fun. Sometimes amid all the activity, your four-legged members of the family may get a bit neglected. Here are eight tips for happy, healthy dogs for the holidays.

1. Keep a dog friendly environment
First, make sure that your dog’s environment is healthy. The tinsel and fancy ribbons that are so popular are a choking hazard for your animals. Dogs love to chase string and having something dangling around can be an invitation to disaster.

2. Be aware of your dog’s mood.
Holidays usually mean visiting relatives and enjoying celebrations. If you find yourself overwhelmed by all the people around you, just imagine how your dog must feel. Puppies who love people may go a little crazy trying to keep up with everyone, and older dogs who are more set in their ways might be very cranky about all the activity. It’s important to remember to socialize with your dog and know that sometimes a little bit of time alone can be a relief for older animals.

3. Don’t feed from the table.
Dogs get a lot more table scraps around the holidays than at any other time of year. The delicious food in your Christmas feast is too rich for your pets and feeding dogs from the table rewards them for begging and encourages them to do it more. Even if you can resist your dog’s pleading eyes, your guests may not have the same willpower. Human food throws off the nutritional balance of your dog’s diet and “treating” them to leftovers and sweets may mean an urgent vet visit.

4. Include him in family activities.
Your dog is part of the family. Treat him like it. If your dog loves the attention of your holiday guests, there’s no harm in letting him hang out with everyone.

5. Keep a schedule.
Dogs like routine and often show signs of discomfort when their routine is interrupted. While it may be fun to hang out longer in your pajamas and visit with family during the holidays, don’t forget to stick to the schedule your dog is used to. If you usually walk Fido at 7 a.m. every morning, keeping him to that routine will keep him settled and happier. Fido will be okay with you getting back into your PJs after his walk.

6. Provide a safe place during fireworks.
Keep your dogs inside during fireworks, preferably with human companionship. Bringing your dogs to a fireworks display is never a good idea. Provide a safe place inside for your dogs to retreat. When scared of sounds they can’t orient, dogs often prefer small, enclosed areas. If your dog is comfortable in a crate, that may be a good option.

7. Double check ID tags.
Make sure all your dogs are wearing ID tags with a properly fitting collar. Dogs have been known to become Houdini around holiday time with all excitement and disruption of guests, and the fear of firework noises.

8. Take advantage of holiday specials.
During holiday times, many pet brands provide specials for their products. Keep an eye out when reading the newspaper, listening to the radio or browsing Facebook for details about how you could get your favourite pet product for a reduced cost or get something else special for buying what you already buy. For example, Purina (www.purinatt.com) currently offers special bags of Dog Chow that have extra pounds of food at no additional cost and has a Trinidad Wow Christmas promotion for which consumers win free Christmas dinners or an entire family entertainment room from Courts.