*Before we get to some great holiday tips, I’m happy to announce the winner of last week’s photo caption contest. They were all fantastic replies, but the winner is DBR with the caption “Mom, don’t you think this holiday collar is just a wee bit too big?” DBR, please email me peggyfrezon [at] gmail [dot] com with your name and mailing address and I’ll mail you the pet organizer. And thank you everyone for entering!

I’ve been fortunate enough to communicate with pet expert Joel Silverman a few times, and trust his advice. So when his publicist sent me his new tips for the holiday season, I was anxious to share them with you!
Holiday Safety Tips to Keep Pets Happy and Healthy
by Joel Silverman

Families are eagerly planning for the holidays and buying gifts for their pets and for the pet lovers in their life. During this exciting time, pets can easily get into trouble or find themselves in unsafe situations with Christmas trees, holiday lights and sugary treats.

Expert dog trainer and author of anticipated bestselling book What Color is Your Dog? Joel Silverman offers a quick list of tips to keep dogs happy and safe this holiday season:

Pets as Gifts
1. The selection of a new pet is an important process, and not a split second “gift” decision
2. The person that needs to be involved is the person that will be owning the pet.
3. Many dogs end up in animal shelters and humane societies because they were given as a gift
and their owners weren’t ready for the commitment.
4. Few people have time to take care of a new pet around the holidays.
5. Instead of giving a pet, give a coupon or gift certificate from your local humane society.

Keeping Your Home Safe
1. Try to keep your dog from exploring around the Christmas tree, be aware of what he is doing
and make sure that he is not eating or chewing on any ornaments, cords, branches or other
holiday décor.
2. Keep the lights off and unplugged when you are away from home. In the event your dog does
chew on a cord, he will not be injured or shocked by the electricity.
3. Be aware of all the items you put out around the house during the holidays, including candy.
Remember, to always keep dogs away from chocolate!

Hosting parties/Keeping your pet on the right diet
1. When you invite guests over, make sure they do not feed your dog people food.
2. Little bites of food coming from dozens of guests can add up to more than your dog can
handle and could make him sick.
3. One suggestion is to keep him calm and your guests happy is to put your best friend in a
separate room during your holiday party.
4. One way to keep your pet safe during the party, but still not completely isolated from the fun
would be to have a few of the guests give your dog some Bil-Jac treats before the night is

Joel Silverman is the author of new book What Color is Your Dog? and host of Animal Planet’s Good Dog U. For over 25 years, Silverman has worked behind the scenes training animals for movies, TV shows and commercials and has appeared on national programs such as Live with Regis and Kathie Lee and FOX News. Silverman has offered advice on pet care and training based on his lifetime commitment to the welfare of animals and their special place in our lives. Silverman is currently on a 100 city book tour for What Color is Your Dog? Click for more information about Bil-Jac and tips from Joel Silverman.