Scenthound | Reporter Newspaper & Atlanta Intown

December means eating, drinking and being merry with friends and family. But nothing can spoil holiday cheer like an emergency visit to the vet.  These tips can help prevent a holiday disaster for both you and your pup.

Keep People Food Away from Pups

  • Make sure your dog doesn’t have access to treats, especially those containing chocolate, xylitol, turkey and turkey skin, grapes/raisins, onions, or other toxic foods.
  • Sharing table scraps should be avoided, especially during the holidays, as the food tends to be extra rich and fattening, which is difficult to digest.


  • Secure your tree! A curious pup could bump it or knock it over.
  • Be careful with water additives for Christmas trees which can be hazardous to dogs (we suggest avoiding all additives to be as safe as possible!)
  • Position ornaments, tinsel and electrical cords out of reach.
  • Never leave a dog alone in an area with a lit candle!
  • Keep holiday plants – especially holly, mistletoe and lilies – out of the way.
  • Unplug decorations when you aren’t around.

Hosting A Small Get-Together?

  • Dogs that aren’t normally shy may become nervous around visitors – make sure to provide access to a comfortable, quiet place to retreat.
  • Watch the exits – even if your pups are comfortable around guests, watch them closely, especially when people are entering or leaving your home.
  • Make sure your pup has proper identification with your current contact information, including a microchip with up-to-date, registered information.
  • Take out the trash to make sure your pups can’t get to it, particularly if it contains food scraps or bones.

Holiday Travel

  • Interstate and international travel regulations require any dog you bring with you to have a health certificate from your veterinarian – even if you are traveling by car.
  • Pups in vehicles should always be safely restrained using a secure harness or a carrier and placed in a location clear of airbags.
  • Dogs should never be left alone in the car – in any weather.
  • If you’re traveling by air and considering bringing your pup with you, talk with your vet first. Air travel can put some pups at risk, especially short-nosed dogs.
  • In addition to your dog’s food and medications, be sure to pack copies of their medical records, information to help identify your pup if it becomes lost, first aid supplies, and other critical items.
  • Boarding your dog while you travel? Talk with your vet to find out how best to protect your pup from canine flu and other contagious diseases, and to make sure your pup is up to date on vaccines.

Plan in Advance

  • Always keep the phone number of your vet, a 24-hour emergency clinic and poison control posted in an easy-to-find location.
  • Quick action can save lives! If you believe your pup has been poisoned or eaten something it shouldn’t have, call your veterinarian or local emergency clinic immediately. Signs of distress include sudden changes in behavior, pain, vomiting, or diarrhea.

About the Author: Dr. Jim MacLean, Chief Veterinarian, Scenthound

Dr. MacLean’s first job was working as a grooming assistant when he was 15 years old. Since then, he has worked in every aspect of small animal veterinary hospitals, has practiced in small animal medicine and surgery for 26 years, and has owned and started multi-doctor veterinary hospitals. With a mind for both medicine and business, Jim received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from VMRCVM at Virginia Tech in 1994 and his MBA from Georgetown University in 2011.

Coming full circle, he joined the Scenthound pack to bring his expertise and experience to the grooming world. As chief veterinarian, Dr. MacLean guides Scenthound from a health and medicine perspective and helps achieve our mission to improve overall pet health on a broader scale.

Scenthound is a wellness-centered, membership-based dog grooming business enabling dog parents to ensure their furry friends are getting the routine care they need. Pet parents can select a membership plan most appropriate for their dog and add additional services on an as-needed basis. The brand gets its name from the unique approach it takes to grooming with a focus on the five core areas of routine and preventive care for dogs, including Skin, Coat, Ears, Nails, and Teeth. Use our Scenthound locator to find the Scenter nearest you!

This article originally appeared on Reporter Newspaper & Atlanta Intown: Holiday safety for dogs: Tips and tricks for pet parents

Leave a reply