With a few precautions, you and your dog can have a safe and happy holiday.
The holidays are fast approaching. It’s the season to be with those you love most and that list definitely includes our wonderful dogs. It’s great fun to celebrate the festive times with our dogs, but certain holiday items and traditions can present danger to our pups. With a little precaution, we can all enjoy a safe and joyful holiday season. Here are three holiday items that can present problems and how to avoid those problems.
Christmas trees present many potential hazards to our dogs. Whether real or artificial, Christmas tree needles are sharp and indigestible. Christmas tree lighting uses electric cords that dogs and especially puppies might chew and risk getting shocked or electrocuted. Some lights can become very hot and can burn your dog if she touches them. Glass ornaments tend to break easily. Edible ornaments such as cranberries or popcorn strings are very tempting and your dog could knock the tree over in an attempt to get them. Other ornaments contain paint and materials that could make your dog sick if she chews or eats them. Tinsel is dangerous as it may obstruct your dog’s circulation and, if swallowed, tinsel can block the intestines. Your dog might also feel the need to investigate your wrapped presents which could cause you major headaches. So for ALL these reasons I recommend keeping your Christmas tree in a room with a door that you can close when you aren’t there to supervise your dog. If you keep your tree in an area without a door, then I would recommend using an exercise pen or baby gate to fence the tree.
Many people love to bring in holiday plants to decorate their homes, but owners must be aware of plants that are dangerous to dogs. Knowing about toxic holiday plants will let you bring the spirit of the season into your home while avoiding danger to your dog.
The poinsettia is known for its deep red colour and is a very popular plant during the holiday season. The plant is known to be poisonous to dogs and can cause irritation to the mouth and esophagus as well as vomiting and diarrhea if ingested. The plant is not as toxic as the urban legend might have you believe, but it is important to keep this plant away from your dog.
Mistletoe can be quite poisonous to dogs. If your dog ingests mistletoe, they could experience gastrointestinal upset, change in mental function, trouble breathing and/or a low heart rate. If you suspect your dog has eaten mistletoe, seek veterinary help immediately.
Holly is known to be dangerous for pets. Symptoms after ingesting holly could include vomiting, diarrhea and low energy. You should get veterinary assistance if you think your dog has ingested holly.
If any plant that has been treated with a pesticide is ingested by your dog, she could become at risk of becoming ill from swallowing the pesticide. The size of your dog and the amount ingested would be the determining factors for the severity. Young and old dogs are at the highest risk. I would always rather be safe than sorry so I would recommend taking your dog to see the vet as soon as you have the suspicion that she has ingested a plant this holiday season.
Candles used as a part of many holiday celebrations. Candles can add a magical effect to a room, but their flame does present a danger to your dog. It’s best to keep candles on high tables or mantles instead of on coffee tables or window sills. This will help avoid a bad situation if your dog is prone to “coffee table surf” when there are snacks out or if you own a large dog with a jolly, wagging tail.
It’s also important to know what the candle you are burning is made of as it could be emitting toxins into your home, which is bad for both you and your dog. I use candles that are made in Canada from beeswax, that contain lead-free, unbleached cotton wicks. Some people prefer to use natural soy and vegetable-based wax candles. They are a bit more expensive, but worth it in my opinion. If you use coloured candles, make sure you ask if the dyes used are vegetable-based.
These are a few of my tips on enjoying a safe holiday season. Wishing you and your dogs a very happy holiday!