Make sure your dog is safe, healthy and happy this holiday

You probably know to keep the Godiva Chocolates far, far away from your canine best friend...

“Woman keeping dog safe from toxic plant.

Knowledge of toxic plants and food, plus good old common sense can keep your dog safe during the holidays.

According to the American Kennel Club, chocolates and people food are just some of the items dangerous for pets. First, there are the plants. Traditional favorites like poinsettia, holly, and mistletoe are downright poisonous to dogs, so keep them with the Godivas. Don't decorate your tree with edible ornaments like popcorn, cranberries, or Cheerios. Even a small dog might take on the challenge of toppling the tree to acquire the goodies.

The next tips are just common sense: Keep all animals away from burning candles and also wrapped gifts - who knows what kind of dangers lurk therein, or what a mess they could make finding out?

Also, consider hazards of the non-vegetation variety, such as fragile glass ornaments and even the tree lights. Glass that may become hot or break easily - often aided by an enthusiastic cat or dog - is dangerous for all your pets, so keep them out of reach or avoid decorating with them altogether.

Remember that dogs - puppies in particular - have a rather indiscriminate palate, so prevent any risk of their chewing on tinsel or other materials that could make them sick by keeping the ornaments off the lower tree limbs.

To keep your dog safe, don't let him from touch Christmas ornaments, as he is here.

Dogs like to chew things, so for safety, keep ornaments off the lower limbs of a Christmas tree.

Having said that, it's also true that needles from both real and artificial trees are sharp and indigestible, so it's not a bad idea to keep the tree, with needles, electrical cords, and all, inside a fence, playpen, or other dog-free zones. A cute picket fence might be worked into your indoor holiday decorating quite nicely.

Ever feel stressed over the holidays? Well, so does your dog! Let this be your mantra: dogs like routine. They like to eat, sleep, exercise, and play at about the same time every day. Amidst the holiday chaos, they need quiet time just like you do, so it would be good for both of you to schedule some one-on-one pet time away from the houseguests.

The Association of Professional Dog Trainers also suggests giving dogs a refresher course in basics like "sit" and "down" to help them curb their enthusiasm when friends arrive. Keep in mind, too, that dogs aren't party animals, so never let your guests or their children feed your dog alcohol, or, for that matter, any of the human food on the buffet table. After all, a sick dog is not a happy dog.

This content post is provided by the pet experts at Hartz.