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Chocolate Havanese

Holiday hazards

In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, amidst decorating, wrapping, baking and celebrating; keeping an eye on two-legged and four-legged kids can be quite a task. When you least expect it, you may find that your usually well-behaved Havanese has suddenly become a snoop, a thief, a glutton, a shredder and an all-around destroyer. What happened? The holidays present many challenges and stresses for everyone, including your Havanese. You may be much busier than usual and regular routines may have gone by the wayside; a normally quiet house may be filled with family and friends, perhaps including unexpected feline or canine guests. The furniture has been re-arranged; thereís a tree in the corner and there are parcels galore begging to be played with (after all they are on the floor where the toys usually are.) A plethora of intriguing smells waft on the air. Temptation is everywhere and can be overwhelming even for the most well behaved pet.

The Havanese that loves to climb on the back of the sofa or sun himself on the table can and will easily do the same to help himself to tempting treats or explore holiday decor you thought were out of reach. Havanese are intelligent and creative and will easily find ways to get to places you never thought possible. One year I got quite a fright to see one of my Havanese perched on top of my upright piano; another year brought a sweet smile to my face when I found a wayward puppy in my nativity scene curled up in a manger full of fresh hay.

There are several items around the home at this time of year that can be hazardous to your pet's health. Poinsettias, while not nearly as dangerous as once believed, are still a toxic concern; the sap can cause irritation of the skin, eyes and mucus membranes. If ingested, larger quantities can cause nausea and vomiting. Holly and Mistletoe may cause more severe gastro-intestinal symptoms, as well as cardiovascular collapse. Decorations such scented pine cones, preserved greens, dried arrangements and wax fruits have usually been treated with potentially toxic chemicals and can be dangerous to play with or nibble on. Swags, garlands and tasselled runners tempt and tease as they dangle, just begging to be tugged on, which risks pulling down heavy ornaments, breakables or lit candles which can be a fire hazard or cause personal harm to humans and pets alike, damage furnishings and be a mess to clean up. On the tables and counters, pay attention to candy, nuts, chocolate and other sweets or snacks. Spilled goodies may result in only a mess, or broken dishes, or could give the annoyance and grooming nightmare of a candy coated dog with sticky fur. Access to other treats, like chocolate, can have even more severe consequences and may result in mild to severe illness. Breakable ornaments, tinsel and electric cords are some of the major holiday hazards around the Christians tree along with tipping or pulling the tree over. If you have a live tree, be extra vigilant so your Havanese does not drink the treated water nor view the tree as a convenient indoor potty. Havanese love paper and will be delighted to unwrap and investigate each and every gift under the tree, but what is inside can be potentially harmful ; plastic wrap, batteries, small parts that can be ingested or choked on can put a serious damper on festivities and endanger your pet's life.

The holidays can be fun for all with just a bit of awareness, attention and planning. Try to keep daily routines as similar as possible. Donít forget walks and potty outings. Havanese love to be part of the action. Be sure to introduce your Havanese to all your guests but do allow your pet to escape to a safe spot if things become overwhelming. Don't force interactions with visiting pets. Mutual indifference is better than pushing things and having Aunt Tessie's cat chased up the tree. Keep human food treats to a minimum. A small piece of plain turkey may be a special treat for your pet but days of unending tidbits or an unwise but well-intentioned dinner complete with rich gravy, mashed potatoes and decadent sweets may result in stomach upset or illness and messed you would rather not clean up. Everyday cuddles and play time are important to let your pet know he is still your special companion even with all the chaos. Your Havanese will delight in having a few special gifts to open and play with. A little forethought and planning will ensure you are celebrating your holidays at home with your family and not at the veterinary clinic with a sick or injured pet.

Happy Holidays!