12 Ways to Help Your Dog With Holiday Stress

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12 Ways to Help Your Dog With Holiday Stress

Photo by John Attebury / CC BY 2.0

Do you have a dog with holiday stress? Every year, Haley watches as I begin to drag out all of our Christmas decorations. Some are in the garage, some in the basement and others in closets. She’s a velcro dog, so she follows me on my many trips back and forth and all around the house while I gather the objects of festive cheer and distribute them elsewhere around the house.

But that’s just the beginning of all the busyness that takes place this time of year. She tags along while we select and cut down our Christmas tree, she’s on floor duty in the kitchen to supervise all the cooking and baking and she makes sure I don’t miss any of her stray clumps of fur when I’m cleaning the house before the kids come home. When I move, she moves. And as December 25th gets closer, I’m even more rushed and pressured to get things done.

As busy as I am around the holidays, Haley stays just as busy. Plus, she needs more sleep than us humans. She loves it when the kids are home for the holidays but between all the playtime, walks, parties, early mornings, late evenings and all the other happenings, she definitely misses out on some of her zzz’s.

Haley handles the stress, lack of sleep and change of routine pretty well, but some dogs tend to get a bit grumpy around the holidays. Our poor pups may be tired, overloaded and even downright cranky at times. This is especially true for reactive and senior dogs. It’s understandable why some dog bites occur at the end of a long evening of partying with guests. But there’s no reason for our pooches to be all “Bah Humbug” about the holidays because I’ve got some tips to keep your pup relaxed, rested and cheerful all season.

12 Tips to Help Your Dog With Holiday Stress

1. Stick to your routine.
Try to stay with your normal routine as much as possible. With all the activity going on, it’s easy to skip a walk, be late with feeding a meal or forget about a potty break, but our dogs love their routines and some get stressed when too many things are out of sync with their normal schedule. Also, be sure not to confuse your dog by relaxing the canine house rules.
2. Provide balance.
Dogs need both exercise and mental stimulation as well as downtime and rest. Make sure they get a balanced ratio of both even if you have a houseful of guests and a busy schedule.
3. Take a timeout.
When things get chaotic for you or your dog, find a quiet place to relax and take a break together. Our dogs pick up on our anxiety, so if you’re frazzled, chances are your dog will also be affected by your state of mind.
4. Exercise your dog.
As a velcro dog, Haley gets quite a bit of exercise just following me around the house when I’m busy, but some dogs need their daily walks or high-energy playtime so they don’t become frustrated or destructive. A daily walk goes a long way to reduce stress levels and overexcitement in dogs. If you’re too busy, enlist the help of a friend or relative to walk your pup.
5. Spend quality time with your dog.
Whether it’s going for a walk, playing together or settling down to give your pup a belly rub, spend a little quality time each day with your dog to give them a sense of their normal routine.
Christmas Bulldog

Photo by Elisa / CC BY-ND 2.0

6. Skip the festive dog attire.
If your dog’s not a big fan of wearing holiday clothing or accessories, give them a break this year and allow them to enjoy being au naturel. Some dogs don’t mind getting dressed up, but most prefer the freedom of just sporting their natural fur coats.
7. Provide a safe place.
Make sure your dog has an area of the house to retreat to if they get overwhelmed, especially during parties. If your dog becomes stressed, a crate or quiet room is the perfect place for them to feel safe and unwind. Giving your dog a timeout can help relieve stress, but if your pup doesn’t like being alone, toss in a frozen, peanut butter Kong or bone to keep them occupied for a while.
8. Watch the little ones.
Yes, the kids! Grabby or rambunctious children and tired dogs are not a good combination. Parents should keep a close eye on their kids, but ultimately it’s your responsibility to prevent a dog bite. Young kids and dogs shouldn’t be alone together during a party or gathering. You can always keep your dog on a leash to make it easier to supervise them around kids.
9. Monitor your dog’s diet.
We’re not the only ones that gain weight during the holidays. Our dogs can put on a few extra pounds too. Those little beggars are getting handouts left and right and some people might not realize which foods are dangerous for dogs. Avoid the additional stress of your dog getting an upset stomach by keeping a close eye on what they eat. Also, be sure to keep their water bowl filled and prevent your dog from getting into the trash.
10. Avoid holiday hazards.
If you have a dog that finds trouble or likes to eat all sorts of items, avoid poisonous holiday plants, lighted candles and small or strings-type decorations that could be ingested. Also, live Christmas trees can pose a hazard for some dogs.
11. Watch the doors.
Between package deliveries and guests coming and going, there will be plenty of opportunities for a curious pup to slip outside. Although it’s usually a guest that lets the dog outside, consider using a leash on your dog if you’re worried they might slip out and potentially get lost.
12. Don’t force your dog to participate.
If your dog’s uncomfortable in a particular situation or when meeting people, don’t force them to interact. Allow them to approach if and when they’re ready. If a guest shows up with their dog, don’t force your dog to greet or play with the other dog if they’re resistant.

Dog With Christmas Tree

Photo by Bill Mill / CC BY-SA 2.0

Signs Your Dog Might Be Stressed

Dogs, just like people, handle stress in different ways. Some dogs withdraw, some becoming clingy, some may show signs of anxiety, and others might display destructive behavior. As you keep a close eye on your pup during the holidays, watch for these common signals that your dog might be stressed or overloaded.

  • Lip licking
  • Yawning
  • Wide eyes or hard stares
  • Raised hackles
  • Stiff body
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Tucked tail or cowering
  • Attempting to hide or retreat
  • Pacing
  • Panting
  • Excessive Barking
  • Growling, snapping or biting

The holidays are as crazy as they are wonderful so having a strategy to deal with stress will help both you and your dog. When things get especially hectic, my favorite way to unwind is to take a timeout with Haley and give her a nice belly rub. It quickly helps to de-stress both of us and it works wonders for renewing our energy and spirits. I think Haley’s favorite way to relieve stress though is to tear up every single cardboard box on Christmas morning, haha!

So, during this holiday season when our dogs tend to get less attention and exercise, give your dog the gift of some TLC along with those bones, treats and toys. It just might be their favorite gift this year!

How do you help your dog with holiday stress? Share your tips in the comment section below!

Dog With Snowman

Haley’s Holiday Giveaway!

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Haley's Holiday Giveaway

Congratulations to JoAnn Stancer from Sand Spring Chesapapeakes, winner of Haley’s Holiday Giveaway!

It’s time once again for Haley’s Holiday Giveaway! We’ve had so much fun shopping and selecting this basket full of gifts for one lucky person and their pup. It’s a festive way to thank our awesome readers and spread some holiday cheer!

It’s been a crazy year of ups and downs for our family, so I’m ready to celebrate the holidays then close out this year and welcome in 2017. The one thing that’s been a continual source of joy this year is all of you that have visited the blog, left your thoughtful and helpful comments and shared my posts. I’m so grateful for all of you.

So, jump in on your chance to win Haley’s basket of goodies and toys. I’ve also included a few special surprises for you too! After all, you do so much to take great care of your pups, you deserve some fun things too, right?

How to Enter Haley’s Holiday Giveaway!

Use the Rafflecopter form below to log in with your email address or Facebook account. Don’t worry, nobody will spam you with additional emails for entering. After you log in, follow the prompts and leave a comment here on the blog to be entered in the giveaway. If you would like extra chances to win, feel free to follow the additional prompts in the Rafflecopter.

The winner will be chosen at random and announced here on Friday, December 16th, 2016. The winner will also be contacted via their email address. Please note: Due to the nature of this giveaway, it’s only open to people with a mailing address in the Continental United States.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

One more thing: If you’re having trouble using the Rafflecopter, just be sure to leave a comment in the comment section and I’ll make sure your name is entered in the drawing.

What to Do If Your Dog Eats Turkey Bones

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What to Do It Your Dog Eats Turkey Bones

Photo by Daniel M. Hendricks / CC BY-ND 2.0

Every Thanksgiving I remember the year Haley ate an entire turkey breast carcass. Yes, she ate the entire thing! That might have been the first time she discovered the joy of dumpster diving in the kitchen trash can. With all the commotion around the holiday, I had forgotten about the bones in the trash can when we left the house for a while. When we returned home, I was shocked to see the overturned trash can but shock soon turned into panic when I discovered one tiny turkey bone left on the floor and I realized Haley had eaten the rest of the carcass.

I was so mad at myself for not safely disposing the bones because I knew dogs should never have cooked bones, especially chicken or turkey bones. Those tiny cooked bones become very brittle and can easily splinter. Dogs can choke on the bones or they can become lodged in their throats or puncture their stomach or digestive tract. Surely, eating an entire turkey breast carcass couldn’t be good news for Haley and because it was a holiday our vet’s office was closed. After a phone consultation with an emergency vet, here’s what they advised.

What To Do If Your Dog Eats Turkey Bones

1. Don’t panic
Although there’s a potential for the bones to cause a serious problem, dogs have strong stomach acid to help digest the bones and most dogs will pass them without medical assistance.
2. Don’t induce vomiting
It’s better to let the bones pass through your dog’s digestive system, rather than risk a choking hazard or throat injury when they try to expel them by vomiting.
3. Check for choking or throat issues
If your dog is breathing fine and seems to be acting normally, mostly likely all the bones passed through to the stomach without incidence. If your dog’s choking, gagging, retching, drinking a lot of water, licking their lips, pacing anxiously or is unable to sit or lie down comfortably, call or visit your vet immediately.
4. Feed your dog soft foods for a few days
Foods such as bread slices or cooked rice can help cushion the bones as they pass through the digestive system and may help them pass easier. We fed Haley bread slices, but check with your vet for recommendations for your dog.
5. Monitor your dog closely
It takes about 72 hours for the bones to digest and pass, so it’s important to monitor your dog and their stools during this time period. You may noticed bones in their stool if they didn’t digest completely. Call or visit your vet right away if your dog has any of these symptoms: Difficulty passing stool, black or bloody stools, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, anxiousness or abnormal behavior.
6. Keep your dog calm
Until the bones pass, avoid overly-strenuous exercise, excessive jumping or rough play.

This is what our local emergency vet recommended for Haley, but you know your dog best. As with any medical issue, never hesitate to contact your vet if you’re worried or concerned.

Thankfully, Haley didn’t have any problems after her Thanksgiving feast. Whew! The bones passed just fine and I think they mostly digested because her stools didn’t look dramatically different afterwards. Maybe the wishbone she ate brought us some good luck that year.

Dog Begging for TurkeyBesides properly securing the trash, here are a couple of other tips to keep your pup safe this Thanksgiving. Watch the fatty table scraps which can cause pancreatitis and be sure your dog doesn’t eat unbaked bread dough. The yeast in the dough will cause it to swell in their abdomen and the yeast and sugar can combine and cause alcohol poisoning. If you’re curious, here are some other foods your dog shouldn’t eat.

Haley and I hope you and your pups have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving!


What to Do If Your Dog Eats Turkey Bones

It’s a Piperoid Giveaway!

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Piperoid GiveawayWhat’s a Piperoid, you ask? Why, they are the adorable, Japanese paper dogs you see above. They’re fun and easy to assemble. All you need is a pair of scissors and you’re ready to get creative transforming the paper tubes into your artsy, posable pup. So, get ready to enter our Piperoid giveaway!

Kids and adults alike enjoy putting these together and they make perfect stocking stuffers or gifts for the holidays. The Piperoid people have also created a collection of cats, as well as other characters including Hello Kitty and Hatsune Miku.

Piperoid DogsMy son and daughter-in-law gave me the beagle as a gift, but I couldn’t resist collecting all five of their delightful dogs and I’d love to share the French Bulldog and Miniature Dachshund with two lucky winners in a giveaway this week.

How to Enter the Piperoid Giveaway

Piperoid Dogs GiveawayIt’s easy! To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below stating which Piperoid you would like to win, the French Bulldog or the Miniature Dachshund. I’ll choose two winners at random (one for each dog) next week.
Please Note: The giveaway is only open to people with a mailing address in the Continental United States.

If you don’t want to enter the Piperoid giveaway, but would like to order one, you can find them at Magnote.com and Amazon.com

Good luck!😊

Update: The Winners! Congrats to Lindsay from ThatMutt for winning the French Bulldog and Jean from Welcome to the Menagerie for giving the Doxie a good home. I wish I had one for each person that entered but if you didn’t win, watch for Haley’s Holiday Gift Giveaway coming up next month! Piperoid Giveaway

10 Reasons Why I Love Chewy.com

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Why I Love ChewyNote: This is NOT a paid or compensated review, but a review of a company that I’ve purchased products from. I enjoy sharing information about companies that provide great value and service and you’ll always receive my honest and unbiased opinion.

I’ve been ordering food and pet supplies from Chewy for quite a while now and I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the company, but what they did last week for my mother just blew me away. Here’s why I love Chewy.com!

10 Reasons Why I Love Chewy.com

1. Chewy Cares
It’s been a pretty rough year for my family, as my Dad had been sick most of the spring and summer, then passed away last month. It’s been most difficult on my mother, but at least she had their senior dog Lucy to keep her company through it all. Sadly, one evening last week Lucy passed away. My mom had just ordered a case of food from Chewy that arrived earlier that day. She contacted them a few days later to see if she could return the unopened package. A very caring customer service representative listened to my mom and offered her very sincere condolences. Chewy refunded the entire order and asked my mom to donate the food to a local shelter in Lucy’s name. My mom was utterly surprised a few days later when a beautiful bouquet of flowers showed up at her door—from Chewy.com!

Chewy Sympathy NoteMy mom was so touched by this thoughtful gesture, I just had to share this with you. What an amazing company! Chewy also cares about pets, of course. They even have a program to support registered, non-profit organizations that do so much to help pets and shelters in need.

2. Great Prices
Let’s face it, we all like saving money. Chewy has low prices on almost everything they carry. It’s much cheaper for me to order Haley’s food from Chewy than to purchase it from any of my local, chain pet stores.
3. Fast Shipping
With warehouses all over the country, Chewy can usually get your order to you within 1-2 days. They only ship within the contiguous US, but if you order by 4:00 pm EST, your order will normally ship the same day. All of my orders have arrived within 2 days shipped via FedEx.
4. Free Shipping
Besides getting your pet food, toys and supplies at low prices, Chewy will ship your order for free, if your order totals $49.00 or more. If your order total is less than $49.00, it ships for a very reasonable flat fee of only $4.95!
5. Autoship Option
Do you want to save even more money? Choose the Autoship option when you place your order. You tell Chewy how often you want a product shipped and they make sure it arrives on your doorstep when you need it. Autoship is easy to set up and you can pause, change or cancel shipments at any time. No more running out of food if you forget to reorder.
6. Easy Returns
Chewy.com wants you to be satisfied with your purchase. That’s why they offer a 100% Unconditional Satisfaction Guarantee. They give you 365 days from the sale date to return any item you’re not completely happy with, for any reason. You get a complete refund and they’ll even pay for the return shipping. Just call one of their customer service reps at 1-800-672-4399 for more details if you need to return an item.
7. Exceptional Customer Service
If you have a question or problem, Chewy’s customer service is available 24/7 by phone, email or online chat. You’ll get a real person on the phone that’s responsive and knowledgeable, ready to help with whatever you need.
8. Vast Selection of Products
Chewy carries around 18,000 items for dogs, cats, fish, birds, small pets and reptiles! Everything I’ve purchased at my local, chain pet store is also available on Chewy’s website, usually at lower prices.
9. Quality Brands
I’m impressed with Chewy’s selection of high quality foods, many of which can’t be found at the local big-box pet stores. You can also be assured you’ll receive fresh food when you order from Chewy.
10. User-Friendly Website
The clean design and usability of Chewy’s website makes it simple to order (and re-order) your pet supplies. It’s easy to search for items and view a history of your orders, as well as track orders that have already shipped.

Chewy.com was founded by people with a passion for pets, and it shows. I have to apologize if this article reads like a sponsored post. It is not. I just believe in supporting and rewarding companies that go above and beyond and this is certainly the case with Chewy.

Here’s a picture of my parents when Lucy and her sister Nikki were puppies. I’m sure my Dad is up there somewhere, playing with the dogs, laughing and giving lots of belly rubs.
Mom and Dad With Dogs

Thank you Chewy for bringing my mom some joy last week with your very compassionate and thoughtful gesture. The flowers are gorgeous and it gives me even one more reason why I love Chewy.com!

Have you tried Chewy.com yet? Why I Love Chewy