While they make our homes festive, common holiday decorations pose great risks to our dogs. Today we’ll outline hazards for pets holidays encourage and how you can keep your dog safe.
Let's start with the Christmas tree. Fir trees are toxic to dogs. The oil in pine needles cause mouth and stomach irritation if eaten, so be sure to discourage curious dogs from getting too close to the tree. The preservatives used in tree water are often poisonous to dogs – aspirin, chemical preservatives, and bleach are suggested for trees but awful for dogs. Keep the tree’s base covered so your dog can’t lap it up. Additionally, some dogs have the strength to accidentally knock over a tree during play. For this reason, the ASPCA recommends anchoring your tree to a wall to prevent it falling.
Besides Christmas trees, toxic plants include holiday traditions like holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia. Keep them out of your dog’s reach. If you use holly or mistletoe to decorate your tree, reserve them for the uppermost branches.
Strings of Lights
Cords may be tempting as a chew toy, especially for puppies who are fascinated by how the cord swings when they play with it. To keep your dog from getting to them, keep cords secure. Tape them to walls and floors, or use rubber strips specially made to hold cords down. It's not just the cords on the lights; glass bulbs cut your dog’s mouth and digestive system if chewed or eaten. It’s a scary feeling when you discover frayed cords and shattered bulbs – trust me. Nala once chewed lights we strung on the patio months after we put them up, and I kept a very close eye on her to make sure she was ok. Thankfully, the lights were unplugged so she didn't get shocked and she seemed fine after chewing the wires and glass, but we got lucky. Make sure your dog knows lights and cords are off-limits.
Like strings of lights, many ornaments are made of glass. Keep them out of reach of curious dogs. The same goes for tinsel, plastic ornaments, and other decorations – they can splinter, shatter, and cause blockages if chewed. Edible decorations, such as candy canes and ginger bread ornaments, include ingredients that are harmful to dogs. Avoid them, or at the very least, keep them out of reach. Cat owners often have bare branches at the bottom of their tree to keep temptation out of cats’ reach; the same is a useful preventative for owners of curious dogs and puppies. If that doesn't appeal to you, a smaller tree set up above the ground on a table or counter is another solution. Candles are beautiful but a major fire hazard. Keep them high up where your dog can’t knock them over during play or with the swipe of a strong tail. Supervise your dog anytime candles are lit.
Risky Scrap Food
As you cook up a storm, it's easy to make a mess on the floor -- and let the dog pick it up. It's a small treat, right? Not so. Many foods we enjoy are quite harmful for dogs. Common ones this time of year include chocolate, champagne, and macadamia nuts. For a full list of what you should keep out of Fido's reach, check out this list of poisonous foods dogs beg for.
The holidays present many potential problems, but they are easily avoided. As you decorate this holiday season, keep these tips in mind to ensure your pets' holidays are safe and problem-free.
Did you find this post useful? Get more handy dog-related info with PawPosse's weekly update. Don't miss an update- enter your name and email in the green box at the top right of this page.
If you liked this, you may also like:
Traveling With A Dog Made Safer - If you'll be heading over the hills and through the woods with your dog, make sure he stays safe.
Can Dogs Eat Fruit? - Safe foods and no-no foods, plus recipes for tasty treats you and your dog can share.
Dog First Aid Kits - Always good to have on hand just in case.
Photo credit: Nils Geylen