It’s time to dig out the tinsel, buy all the presents and snaffle a mince pie or two – if you’re a human anyway. Christmas can be a hugely exciting time for our canine pals, but it’s also a time of increased risk. Let’s take a look at what common Christmas treats can become hazards for your dog?
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You may be hoping for romance beneath the mistletoe, but make sure it’s secured up high. Mistletoe is poisonous to dogs, as is holly. Poinsettia and ivy are other non-dog-friendly plants, so keep them out of reach.
Furthermore, the sap of some fir trees, which are used as Christmas trees, can have a low-level toxicity. It’s not usually a problem, but if your dog is experiencing vomiting and diarrhoea, check they aren’t munching on pine needles or gnawing the branches. What’s more, the needles are an irritant and have even been known to pierce a dog’s intestine, so make sure you hoover up regularly.
Most dog owners are familiar that chocolate isn’t a treat for dogs because of theobromine. This particularly needs highlighting to any visiting children or guests who aren’t familiar with doggy needs.
If your dog experiences tremors or convulsions, get them seen by a vet straight away. If you want to include your pooch in seasonal chocolate heaven, then make sure you buy specialist dog-friendly choccies.
Decorations are enticing to dogs because many look like the most exciting toy they’ve ever seen. In fact, your tree is like doggy-heaven with 100 shiny dazzling balls calling out to be played with. Therefore, they can be bad news. Glass and plastic baubles, when munched or stepped on, can cut. Keep them up high and out of reach.
Additionally, other decorating staples such as tinsel and ribbons can also pose a hazard. Daft dogs have been known to ingest huge lengths of tinsel and ribbon, which then gets tangled in their intestines.
Also watch out for foil-covered chocolate tree decorations. It’s not just the chocolate to be wary of, but mischievous dogs can be daft and eat them foil and all. Not good news!
To power all those fairy lights, you’ve likely got a bunch more wires trailing the floors. If you’ve got a chewer or a puppy, these need securing down. Run tape over the wire, securing it to the floor to prevent a nasty electrical shock.
While you’re tucking into a feast, the tidbits from the table will be in high demand. However, there are some elements of your Christmas feasting which should definitely not find their way to your dog’s mouth.
Raisins are a staple of Christmas pudding, mince pies and Christmas cakes, but are lethal to dogs, posing a severe risk to their kidneys.
Other items from your Christmas dinner plate, which shouldn’t end up in your dog’s bowl, include nuts (particularly macadamia), garlic and onions. We’re sure they’ll love a snaffle of some leftover turkey (without the bones, which can splinter) though.
What’s in the box? Firstly, you don’t want the wails of upset children on Christmas Day when they discover their much-anticipated new toy has been shredded by their family dog. Secondly, without knowing what is in the present, you could be exposing your dog to danger. That wrapping paper could be hiding a box of chocolates, for example.
An inquisitive dog, left to their own devices, may decide to do some unwrapping and exploring themselves. Make sure presents are out of reach when your dog isn’t supervised.
Worryingly, many owners think they are giving their dogs a safe treat when giving them a Christmassy rawhide toy. There are a number of problems with these toys. Firstly, if the dog succeeds in biting off a large chunk, this can cause a blockage. When mixed with saliva, the rawhide becomes slippery, making it nearly impossible to dislodge if the dog is choking. Furthermore, as part of the manufacturing process, the rawhide can contain chemicals that are not good for ingestion.
We know you’re looking forward to a Christmas tipple or two, but watch where you put those glasses down! Dogs may head around the room lapping up leftover drinks, sitting innocently as you snooze off that extra portion of roast potatoes. Given alcohol can have the same effect on dogs as it can on humans, it’s best to keep it well away from them.
What other Christmas hazards for dogs are there?
There are a few other hazards you should be aware of.
When gifts are unwrapped, make sure silica gel sachets are removed and disposed of. They are low-level in terms of toxicity, but best to avoid.
Wrapping paper is generally a low risk, but if your dog consumes a large amount, it can cause a blockage in the intestine.
Some of our sillier dogs have been known to enjoy a good munch on a candle. Generally not good news, and it can cause a poorly tummy. Additionally, lit candles should be placed on high shelves, well away from wagging tails.
How to ensure your dog has a great time this Christmas
Follow the guidelines above then you can ensure that your canine pal enjoys Christmas just as much as you do. Two more pieces of advice: only buy treats at the vets, or another reputable source and supervise your dog when near Christmassy hazards.
Merry Christmas from everyone here at The WAG Club!