"Nothing tops a holiday wish list more than a cute cuddly puppy, but there are many dangers associated with this season for dogs," said AKC Spokesperson Lisa Peterson. "Because of that, many responsible breeders do not breed litters with a Christmas delivery due date. Bringing a puppy into your life in the off-season is a safer alternative than exposing a new puppy to holiday dangers in the home. Consider gift wrapping dog toys or supplies such as a leash or food bowl to symbolize the gift of a puppy to come."
Puppies are a life-time responsibility and their first few weeks at home are critical – they require a great deal of time, attention and love. With the disrupted schedules and chaos of the holidays, it would be extremely difficult to set aside the time a puppy needs during this important stage of its life. Moreover, the many holiday hazards that affect adult dogs are often compounded for a new puppy in an unfamiliar setting such as his new home.
With the holidays rapidly approaching, the AKC offers the following tips for dog owners to keep their four-legged friends happy and safe this season:
- Holiday visitors coming to your home may not be dog owners and can inadvertently leave doors open which let dogs escape and could confuse new puppies who are not familiar with the family yard yet.
- Avoid using food such as popcorn or cranberry strands when decorating your home or Christmas tree. If eaten, they can cause blockages, which can require surgery to remove.
- Place anything shiny, such as ornaments, tinsel, glass bulbs, and things that sparkle and catch your dog's eye, higher up on your tree where he can't reach them.
- Christmas trees, poinsettias, holly and mistletoe all can be dangerous for your dog. Consider having an artificial tree or, if you have a real one, make sure your dog doesn't swallow pine needles or drink the water. Poinsettias, holly and mistletoe should be kept out of your dog's reach.
- Exposed wires from holiday lights pose a threat to your inquisitive puppy. Tape indoor wires to the wall and outdoor wires to the side of the house where your dog can't reach them.
- Rambunctious puppies can also knock over lit candles causing house fires and receive serious burns from hot wax. They may also be inclined to investigate a fireplace too closely.
- Common holiday foods such as chocolate, butter, meat and candy can make your dog very ill. Take care to keep these foods out of reach.
Additional holiday pet safety tips can be found at http://bit.ly/UjeTGX.