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The holidays are always a busy time. Family gatherings, work parties, and lots of cooking all make for a bustling season. Our pets are family, so they are often involved in our holiday activities. Yet, during the busy holiday season, their health and wellness can sometimes be put on the back burner.
With so much activity happening around the home and winter weather being unpredictable, it’s easy to forget parts of your dog’s wellness routine. In order to make this holiday season easier for dog owners, we’ve put together a list of tips for keeping your hound healthy.
Prioritize Play Time
Play time is important for dogs any time of year, but especially in the winter when going on walks and going to the park may be impossible. If you can get out and go on a walk or to the dog park, that may be best. If you can’t be outside due to snow or ice, some communities also have indoor dog parks.
Another great option is to prioritize play time in your home. Simple games of tug of war, short-distance fetch, and chase are great ways for your dogs to get some exercise while staying in the house. You can also try boredom buster activities like dog puzzles or scent games. Lots of indoor play time leads to a happier, healthier pup because it mentally stimulates them and also prevents obesity and other health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
Regularly Track Their Health
It can be easy to forget vet appointments, regular vaccinations, and daily medications during the busy holiday season. Consider placing a pet medical and medication tracker on your fridge so the whole family can keep up with Fido’s wellbeing. A medical tracker is also a great way to prevent incorrect dosing and ensure your pet is getting the right amount of medication everyday.
If you plan on traveling with your pup during the holiday season, it is also important to make sure they’re healthy enough to travel. Make sure to take your dog to the vet before extensive traveling to make sure they are in tip-top shape and are up to date on vaccinations. Dogs can get sick from travel much like humans can, so make sure to monitor their health throughout the season.
Watch What They Eat
The holidays are filled with yummy foods, but not all of these foods are good for dogs. In fact, some of them are toxic. Consider keeping a printable of foods your dog can and can’t eat on the fridge during family gatherings. This will prevent well-meaning family members from feeding your pup their leftovers that may include garlic and onions, which are harmful to dogs.
Some of the most common holiday foods that are toxic for pups include raisins, onions, and Halloween candy like chocolate. Foods like chicken, sweet potatoes, and carrots are safe for your dog if you want to feed them their own fancy holiday feast.
Invest in Pet Insurance and Prep for Caretakers
Pet insurance is a great investment to make when your dog is still a puppy. It can come in handy in the event of an emergency or for a regular vet visit. If you get pet insurance when your dog is still a puppy, they’ll be more likely to cover a healthy dog that hasn’t developed pre-existing conditions. If you wait until your pup is older and has developed health conditions, that care unfortunately won’t be covered by pet insurance in most instances.
If you do have pet insurance, make sure to let your holiday pet sitter know. Leaving your dog with a caretaker over the holidays can be hard, but if it’s something you decide is best, you want to make sure the caretaker knows everything about your animal. Consider leaving them a pet health profile with emergency contacts, as well as general information about your pet.
Pets are family, so we want to treat them as such. Their health and wellness should stay a top priority all throughout the year and especially during a hectic holiday season. Thanks to The Zebra for providing these printables that can help us keep up with our pet’s health during the crazy holidays.
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