How to take care of my German Shepherd during the holiday season?

November 15, 2022

Top Shepherd

The holiday season is about fun, games, candies, fireworks, and spending time in your favorite company. But the merriment isn't shared by the furry pets at your home. From the emotional stress of a busy holiday season on your dogs to the potential dangers of fireworks, Halloween candy, turkey, or tinsel, the holidays add many special concerns to the lives of dog owners. Your German shepherds can be exposed to scary peeves during the holiday season. 

In the zeal and zest of the busy holidays that await you, here is a list of potentially dangerous factors to keep yourself informed and your German Shepherd healthy. 

  • Use pet-friendly Holiday decorations. 

Certain holiday decorations like the Christmas Tree, tinsel and ribbons, ornaments, and holiday plants can be hazardous to your German Shepherds. 

A Christmas tree can quickly come down on a dog who bumps it or tugs on any of the low-hanging ornaments. Try placing your Christmas tree at your GSD's less preferred corner of the house to steer clear of any injuries. You can use gates, exercise pens, larger presents, or anything else fence-like to wall off your tree. These barriers keep your GSD from bumping into, climbing, or getting underneath your tree.

All the smells, shapes, and odd textures of the strange holiday decorations can be pretty fascinating to your GSD. But they are harmful to any curious pet's mouth or stomach. It is best to use pet-friendly Christmas ornaments that are usually made of shatterproof materials instead of glass or plastic. 

Take special care of electric cords and wires and keep them covered or hidden where your dog can not reach them, as they can cause shock or injury. 

  • Steer clear of close-range fireworks: 

Humans may enjoy the revelry of fireworks, but they cause a great deal of stress for dogs, causing symptoms like violent shaking, trembling, excessive drooling, and barking. These sensory sensations can often be accompanied by pain. Fireworks are some of the most common causes of fear that lead to trauma, anxiety, and PTSD in dogs. The potential damage fireworks can cause to your German Shepherd’s ears primarily depends on how closely fireworks go off. The further away the fireworks are from your home, the less likely damage will occur. Keep the doors locked, and curtains closed until the fireworks go off. Use soft music to calm your furry pet down. 

  • Avoid fatty food and sweet treats.

Rich, fatty, or spicy food can potentially cause intestinal upset for your dog. A fatty treat could trigger a fatal inflammation in the pancreas or intestine. Cooked poultry bones are never a good idea, no matter how much your GSD begs. These bones are highly prone to splintering, sending shards of bone through the German Shepherd's intestines. Even a tiny pierce in the intestinal lining can lead to deadly peritonitis. Ask your visitors not to feed unmonitored food to your GSD. Sweet treats like chocolate contain the chemical theobromine, which can lead to arrhythmia, tremors, and seizures in your GSD. As little as 4-5 ounces can be toxic to dogs or cats. 

  • Prep your dog before traveling. 

If your dog loves to travel and visit new places, consider yourself lucky. Some dogs travel well in the car, while others may not. They may drool, become restless, howl, bark, pace, whine, seek your attention or physical contact (which can be dangerous to the driver), and even vomit, urinate, or pass stools, causing trouble on your trip. The change of scenery and environment can cause stress and make your GSD anxious. If you are visiting your family or friends for the holidays, ensuring your dog feels safe and comfortable in their home and during the commute is critical. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise before crating. A tired dog is more likely to be calm and may even sleep during some stretches. Give your dog their favorite toy or blanket to help them feel comfortable and relaxed. 

Preventive care and knowing what to do in an emergency are crucial to ensuring you and your GSD have a fantastic holiday. Beyond taking care of the aspects mentioned above, keep a dog first aid kit handy and maintain a record of all the emergency veterinary care phone numbers near your location. This simple preventative step can go a long way in ensuring you and your German Shepherd have a happy holiday. 

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