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Pug-Mas: 6 Ways to Help Your Pug Have a Merry (and Safe) Holiday

Christmas and holidays with your dog

The holidays are here! Pugs and Christmas go hand-in-paw, after all, they’re small like mischievous elves, jolly like Santa and love treats like...well...everyone! Christmas is a natural fit!

During this time of year, however, we’re sometimes busy and distracted. There are a few hazards your pugs might face. The weather is a little chilly. Visitors are coming and going. There’s plenty pugs can get into to land on the naughty list (or in the vet’s office).

So if you want your little buddy to have a happy and safe holiday, there are simple steps you should take and situations to you should be aware of to protect your pug. Keep everyone’s Christmas joyful, stress-free and healthy!

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1. Eating: Food Glorious Food!

Oh there are so many awesome foods during the holiday season. From Christmas cookies to the roast beast, the culinary delights abound. Yet, many of the common foods we enjoy during the holidays aren’t terrific for your pup. In fact, some can be downright hazardous. Here are a few to avoid at all costs:

  • Chocolate (of course)--Highly toxic to dogs

  • Avocado--Guacamole isn’t for pugs--avocados are bad for dogs

  • Raisins & Grapes--Rum raisin balls, fruitcake...not for pugs

  • Alcohol--Also can be toxic to dogs

  • Meat with bones--Can present a choking hazard

  • Rich and fatty foods--Can lead to pancreatitis

  • Sugar-free sweeteners (with Xylitol)--Lead to liver failure

  • Onions & Garlic--Cause anemia in dogs

  • Coffee, tea and caffeinated drinks--Can be fatal for dogs

  • Dairy foods (like ice cream)--Cause a tummy ache (no one wants poop on the rug)

You might be thinking, “Sheesh, what CAN I feed my pug?!” Well, sadly (for pugs) the best treats are made for dogs specifically. It’s hard to resist those “Please sir, may I have some more?” eyes your pug makes when they want a treat, but many holiday foods can make your fur-kids ill.

If you’re dying to give your puggy a special treat, consider the following:

  • Pumpkin puree (100% pure pumpkin)--A spoonful is great for their digestion

  • Natural unsweetened, unsalted peanut butter--in very small quantities, or baked into unsweetened cookies

  • Fruits without pits or seeds

  • Vegetables like carrots, broccoli and cauliflower

  • Lean cooked meats--like unprocessed chicken

  • Plain white rice

We promise your pug will be thrilled with a small chunk of carrot (just cut it so they won’t choke) or a little bit of plain unseasoned chicken. In fact, they will probably lead you to believe it’s the greatest treat in the WHOLE world!

2. Decorating: Deck the Halls

We love making our homes festive and fun for the holidays--the tree, poinsettias, lights, tinsel and trim are beautiful and feel almost magical. Once again, though, you should use caution when decorating with certain items.

You know your pug best, of course, but most pugs enjoy licking and chewing like crazy. Stuffed toys and decorations with trim can become hazardous if your pug eats them. In fact, stuffing can cause intestinal or stomach blockages and lead to stressful times and vet bills.

If your pug is a chewer, watch cords and lights on the Christmas tree as well. This is especially a problem for puppies who are cutting their teeth and love to mouth everything in their path. Keep ornaments and tiny items safely out of your pug’s reach. The same goes for tinsel, which can be a huge choking hazard and a major problem for dogs and cats alike,

Lastly, keep the poinsettias, easter lilies, amaryllis, holly and mistletoe away from your pug! In fact, all these plants are poisonous and hazardous to pets (in varying degrees). A safer bet is a Christmas cactus, which isn’t appealing to pugs and won’t harm them too much if they insist on tasting it. As for your Christmas tree, needles and sap can cause stomach upset and even punctures, so keep an eye on your pooch. The water in the tree stand is also hazardous as it often contains mold, bacteria and other icky stuff should your pug choose to take a drink.

3. Exercising: Make Fit-mas a Priority

A tired pug is a well-behaved pug. It’s hard for all of us to work up the motivation to exercise when the weather isn’t great, but getting your pug out for some fresh air and a long walk will help him stay healthy and fit through the holidays. Pugs should be walked regularly on a leash and harness.

If you take your pug to the dog park, be sure they’re licensed and vaccinated. Many parks offer an area for smaller dogs, which may be preferred for your small buddy. Pugs often don’t have a great awareness of their size and can get into trouble when they want to run with the big doggies. Always supervise your pug closely at the park.

Watch for opportunities and play dates at your local Humane Society, through pug Meetup groups and other opportunities for your pug to socialize. It’s a nice break for both of you to get out of the house, meet some fellow pug peeps and enjoy some frolicking and fun. There are quite a few dog-cafes opening up, and your pug may also enjoy visiting a doggie daycare, where they can burn off steam.

4. Partying: Stay on the Nice List

Pugs are pretty social creatures and most pugs LOVE people and new friends. However, the holidays are often a little chaotic and confusing for your dog. If you’re hosting a holiday party or visitors, be sure they understand your dog's’ temperament and personality. Again, most pugs are great with kids, but sometimes they might get a little excited or go for the same treat.

Visitors should know never to feed your dog food from the table or give them treats, but sometimes well-meaning friends need a reminder about what dogs should and shouldn’t eat. You may also want to remind your visitors about other pug-friendly practices like keeping the door and fence latched, putting the toilet seat down or navigating baby gates around your home.

If you’re having a big get-together, keeping your pug on a leash “pug and chain” style, will help you keep your fur-kid safely in tow. Many pugs don’t want to be exiled to a bedroom or their crate, but being so small they can get underfoot and stepped on. Think of your pug’s leash as holding his hand (er, paw).

5. Traveling: To Grandmother’s House We Go

Pets and travel--some people love taking their pug everywhere they go. Others prefer to leave their puggy safely at home. If your pug is travel-savvy, be sure you follow the best guidelines and practices for traveling with your pug.

First and foremost, clear pug-visitors with your host first to ensure you don’t arrive with a surprise they won’t welcome. If you’re traveling by car, your pug should be secured in a harness or safety seat. Pugs usually do fine over short distances, but you may want to do a few test runs first to make sure.

If you’re traveling by airline, your pug should always fly in the cabin (never in the cargo section). There is a fee for traveling with your pet, and you’ll need to have all vaccinations, make sure your pug meets weight requirements and secure them in an airline-approved carrier.

Lastly, should you decide to board your pug or leave them with a petsitter, always do your homework thoroughly. Petsitters should be carefully screened with references. Be sure you read all reviews before deciding on a boarding facility. Many vets also offer pet boarding, so if your pug loves his dogtor that may be the way to go.

Petsitters should be left with all important details about your pug’s health, feeding times, emergency contact information and house rules (such as letting your pug in the yard unsupervised). Always leave your pug with someone you trust. It can help to do a few trial meetups, playdates or look for fellow pug owners when deciding on a sitter.

6. Gifting: All I Want for Christmas Is YOU

Literally, the only thing your pug probably wants for Christmas is more time with mom or dad. Pugs are simple, sweet, easy little creatures who love nothing more than being by your side. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for your pug, schedule an afternoon of snuggles--they’ll be absolutely thrilled!

But if you really want to surprise your pug with a gift from Santa-himself, there are tons of great items your pug will love. A new harness, like these adorable Frenchie harnesses, are perfect for pugs (and other squishy breeds). Pugs love chew toys like Nylabones or Bully Sticks. Pugs also can’t get enough of unstuffed “stuffies” which provide hours of hazard-free cuddling. Get your pug a fancy new bed to keep them warm and snuggly. Or give your pet a sharp new sweater jacket or bowtie to keep them looking classy.

If you’re really ready to go all out, a new crate as a den can be a great gift. A water fountain is always appreciated. Go tech-happy with a Go Pro, Pet Cube or TrackR. Track your pug’s exercise with a FitBark or give them a subscription to a BarkBox so they can get monthly surprises in the mail.

Pugs are the cutest little elves around. Keep your pug happy, healthy and merry this holiday season (and all year long)!

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