If your outdoor dog spends a lot of time in the yard with your exterior decorations, safety should be at the forefront of your mind. These tips will help you keep your dog, your property and your family safe at this joyful time of year.
Put Decorations in the Right Places
Unless your dog never chews anything he or she shouldn't chew, and expresses no interest in twinkle lights whatsoever, picking the right decorations for your home will be key. Anything that sits on the ground or within reach of your dog's head is a potential chew toy for your dog.
This means that there should be no exterior decorations at ground level, especially if it could be a potential hazard for your dog. Exterior lights pose a threat in this regard, because if chewed they could electrocute your dog or cause a fire on your property. Other less obvious threats include poinsettias, holly and mistletoe (all poisonous). If you must put some decorations at ground level, cloth decorations like holiday flags should pose little or no threat to your dog.
Practice Safety when Installing Lights
Keep your dog out of the yard during the installation process, especially if you plan to use a ladder at any point. Your dog should not be allowed to walk in the area where you are using a ladder.
As you install lights on your house, take care to keep extension cords off the ground where your dog could potentially trip on or play with the cord and pull it from the socket. Any extension cords on the ground where your dog can reach it should be secured to the ground with a cover such as duct tape and plugged into GFCI outlets installed by a qualified electrician.
Provide your dog with enough mental, emotional and physical activity this holiday season. This is an important part of keeping your dog out of trouble and away from holiday lights. Dogs who chew things may be reacting to their own boredom or emotional distress.
In many parts of the country, weather patterns are severe enough in winter that many pet owners reduce the number of walks their pets receive during the week. If possible, make time to take your dog for a walk during the middle of the day when the temperatures are highest and the sun is brightest. If you're unable to take your dog for a walk at this time, dog walking services may be available in your community.