Family gatherings are the source of fond memories for many. However, the family dog may not enjoy these events as much as the rest of the family. Noise, confusion, and changes in routine are stressful for dogs. Even a normally calm and docile pet may become agitated enough to bite under the extreme circumstances of a boisterous family celebration. Supervision may be lax if each adult thinks that another is watching the children. Children are the most likely victims of dog bites in this situation.
Doggone Safe recommends the following tips for keeping the holiday peace:
- Put the dog in his crate with a stuffed Kong or favorite chew toy, at least during the most hectic times—guests arriving and leaving, as well as dinner preparation and serving.
- Assign one adult to be in charge of the dog, to watch for signs of stress and protect from unwanted attention from children. Click here to learn about the subtle signs of stress to watch for.
- Assign one adult to supervise each baby or toddler, with no other tasks expected of that person.
- If you have multiple dogs, consider kenneling them, crating them, or keeping them in another room during large gatherings.
- Supervise at all times.