Santa Paws is coming to town!

76C_dog_cat_xmas-01Earlier this year (Sept. 23rd to be precise: I published “Fido’s Guide to a Stress-free Holiday, early edition!” hoping to motivate people to start preparing sooner rather than later for the Holiday season. Now I have no way of knowing if anyone, or everyone took this advice, but I have to assume that some took it, and some did not. So, I decided that perhaps reiterating some of the advice (and adding in some new items, yay!) might be handy for those of you who perhaps had good intentions, but somewhat less than perfect execution.

1) When it is dinner time for people, prevent canine catastrophes at the table by feeding your dogs stuffed Kongs. Kongs come in a variety of sizes and are readily available at most pet stores. Recipes for stuffing a Kong can be found at: And, be sure to check out my September 2nd blog, “Whoever said breakfast had to come in a bowl?” ( for more recommendations on intelligence toys you can use instead of Kongs.

MerryXmasFireplace_ACD_Page_12) Give Fido a happy place. I insist that each of my dogs have a place in the house that is his “Do Not Disturb” zone. Give your buddy a comfy place to curl up, a special treat to chew on, and perhaps some lavender oil on its blanket, in a quiet place in the house. If you need Fido to leave Nirvana, call him to you, and offer a tasty treat for his co-operation. Don’t drag Fido out of his comfort zone as it might lose its specialness and he will no longer have that safe place to re-group. If Fido seems too excited or restless during the festivities, consider giving him that tasty Kong in his special spot or crate as a way to decompress and get himself re-oriented and ready to join the fun.

3) Careful of small toys! Your dog may decide that the replica of the Starship Enterprise, or Diagon Alley in Legos are chew toys. If your dog does swallow plastic do not immediately induce vomiting as sharp edges on chewed plastic can cause serious problems on the way back up. They can also cause gastrointestinal blockages, which can become quite serious quite quickly. (We lost a beloved dog to a blockage due to eating chicken bones he heisted from the trash. In 24 hours he was gone.) Please call the Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435, and be prepared for an emergency vet visit.

4) Rich foods can cause tummy problems! I have posted a lot about toxic materials during the holidays (See Sept 23 and Dec. 75C_dog_thanksgiving-01, but many things that aren’t toxic, should be monitored so Fido does not get an upset tummy or diarrhea. Christmas Cookies, eggnog, candy canes, holiday breads, candy, turkey skins, or anything that he does not normally eat and is high in fat and/or calories can cause tummy upsets. I had a Shih Tzu once who LOVED chocolate. My sister-in-law failed to tell me one of the presents she sent was a two pound bag of M&M’s. Bilbo found it under the tree, ate the entire thing, and promptly threw up all of it on my white rug on Christmas Eve. Luckily he did not poison himself, and my neighbor loaned me her steam-vac, so it all ended well enough, but I certainly don’t wish that on any of you!

What I do wish is that you and your pets have a wonderful, safe Christmas and a very Happy New Year. I also hope that you all know how very grateful we at A Positive Connection for all of you and your delightful dogs. We look forward to serving you in 2014.Happy Hollydogs for website

Behavior or "What the heck?" Care and management or living together in harmony Stress: signals, management, & warning signs4 comments

  1. Sara Wyckoff says:

    Much of this advise is perfect for small children and those among us who get overwhelmed with all the holiday bustle. Change out kong for book or art project.

    • Julie Smith says:

      Thanks Sara! This is a great reminder that busyness can un-nerve all of us…no matter what time of year it is. The idea of having a special book or art project in reserve for any time the kids are overwhelmed is a good suggestion. It is also why I recommend that special intelligence toys get picked up after being used so that the novelty of them remains. Like most kids, dogs get bored with the same thing so I like to have a good assortment of interactive toys (food and ball distribution toys), that I rotate between dogs and between uses. This way I can get the most bang per toy!

  2. Marian Morales says:

    Dear Julie,
    Merry Christmas!!!!!
    Even thought you’re sending me business emails,
    I love getting them. They keep me a little in touch
    with you. I hope you, Brad, and your family are well.
    We are well. Paul is at home and going to college.
    We’re finally remodeling our kitchen/dining room, &
    can’t cook a big meal this Christmas. Going out for a
    Christmas dinner will be a first for us. Ringer, our JRT, will be 12 in January and is still going strong. When you have time, please put a link to some of those great toys you recently suggested. I just can’t remember if it was part of an email or your blog. Santa was thinking of bringing Ringer one. Love to you and your family, Marian

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