Make Pet Safety a Priority This Christmas
Give Your Dog the Gift of Safety for Christmas
Those of us who celebrate Christmas like to share the good times with all our loved ones, including our dogs. But it is a good idea to keep in mind that some of our favorite Christmas traditions could potentially be dangerous for our pets if we are not careful. Here are some things to keep in mind when celebrating Christmas in a household with dogs.
Christmas ornaments of any kind can pose a safety hazard for your dog. Glass, plastic or beaded Christmas ornaments look beautiful hanging from the tree or decorating a table setting. But these items could prove irresistible to your pooch. If your dog plays with Christmas ornaments, serious injuries could result – from cuts to her paws and mouth to choking to intestinal blockage and bowel obstruction.
Therefore, it is best to make every effort to keep your dog away from Christmas ornaments and accessories entirely. And while you are at it, keep the tinsel and the metal ornament hangers out of reach for the same reasons.
Christmas lights can give your holiday a warm glow. But your dog will thank you for removing the temptation to chew on the electrical cords. According to Dr. Foster, if a dog chews through the rubber coating on an electrical cord, it will receive a severe electrical shock when its teeth come into contact with the wires. This can result in painful burns in and around the dog’s mouth, which can lead to redness, irritation and possibly infection.
In severe cases, the electrical current may travel through the dog’s body and cause damage to his lungs. Dogs that have experienced damage to their lungs will show signs of difficulty in breathing as their lungs fill with fluid. Left untreated, such damage can be deadly.
Christmas Tree and Other Holiday Plants
If you use a natural Christmas tree, you will need to place it in a tree stand filled with water. And in order to keep the tree fresh and beautiful through Christmas Day, many people mix fertilizers and other solutions with the water in the tree stand. If your pet drinks the water in the tree stand, she may end up with mouth and stomach irritation from the additives. So consider investing in a tree stand that comes with a cover so your dog cannot drink the water.
Poinsettias are often cited as a dangerous holiday plant for pets. It usually takes the ingestion of quite a large amount of the plant to cause a problem. But if your dog has been nibbling at the poinsettia, look for signs of vomiting, loss of appetite and lethargy, and contact your veterinarian if they occur.
Mistletoe berries, in contrast to poinsettia, can be highly toxic to dogs even in small amounts. The ingestion of only one or two mistletoe berries can be fatal to your dog. If you are hanging mistletoe around the house, be sure and keep the berries away from the dog.
Feeding Your Dog Unfamiliar Foods
Although we look forward every year to our big Christmas feasts, it is best to maintain your dog’s normal diet during the holidays. Fatty table scraps can cause intestinal discomfort at best for your dog, and cooked turkey bones present a serious choking hazard because they can splinter and stick in your dog’s throat. Chocolate, caffeine and alcohol can also create health risks if your dog ingests them.
Consider a Dog Safety Gate
An emergency trip to the veterinarian at Christmas could spoil your family’s holiday celebration. So consider taking the following safety precautions to keep your dog safe this Christmas. You may find that an investment in a dog safety gate could be your best friend’s best friend this holiday.
- Separate your dog from Christmas decorations by putting up a dog safety gate.
- Encase exposed electrical wires in PVC pipe to prevent your dog from chewing on them.
- Make sure everyone in the household, including visitors, knows not to feed the dog any table scraps or other food item that might sicken the dog.