THE 12 DOGGY DANGERS OF CHRISTMAS
By Portia Pottie
‘Tis the season to be jolly with your pup.
What better way to enjoy Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year parties and other festive occasions than spend it with your doggo.
Be warned! The festive season could be hazardous for your furry pal.
Here’s 12 tips to help keep your best buddy safe and well:
- FOOD: You are sitting down to a festive lunch. You look down. Two big eyes are looking up at you. Your doggo smells the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and other delicacies. He wants in! Be careful. Festive food can be hazardous for our pups. Vets warn chocolate can contain theobromine and it is toxic for dogs. Christmas puddings, mince pies, grapes, dried vine products like raisins, sultanas and currents are also toxic for dogs. The same with onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, and chives. Macadamia nuts are also no-no foods. What can you give your pet? Turkey and lamb with no skin or bones is OK. Salmon cooked in spring water, scrambled egg, green beans, Brussel sprouts, parsnips, carrots, peas, mashed potatoes (without additional butter) and yoghurt are also OK.
- CHRISTMAS TREE: Dogs love Christmas trees. The tree suddenly appears in your living room and there’s sparkly, shiny, sometimes edible, ornaments dangling off it and in reach of your inquisitive pooch. The RSPCA in the UK recommends pets only being allowed near the tree while supervised. As well as chomping on a plastic Santa or glass decoration and swallowing them, dogs can grab on to a branch or decoration and pull the tree down. If you have a real tree also make sure doggie doesn’t eat the needles. They can get stuck in your pal’s intestines and require surgery.
- PARTIES: The COVID-19 pandemic will curtail parties this year. That’s a good thing for your pooch. The arrival of a bunch of strangers in your home, the chaos of kids running about, and loud music can unsettle your four-legged mate. Gates can be accidently left open. Kids may want to place their fingers or faces too close to your pet. Handbags may be left open and Snoopy might go snacking on what is inside.
- FIREWORKS: The holiday season, particularly New Year festivities, means fireworks. The RSPCA recommends taking your doggo for a walk during the day rather than in the evening when fireworks are more likely to go off. Also, close all of the windows in your home to reduce the sound. Turn music or your TV on to mask the fireworks explosions. Create a quiet, safe place for your pal. Also, build some hiding places. A Porch Potty is a great help, allowing pets to relieve themselves in safe places.
- CHRISTMAS SWEATERS: Donning an ugly (or cute) Christmas sweater has almost become mandatory during the holiday season – for humans and their pets. Be careful. If you are going to dress up your pet, make sure they can move and breathe freely. Avoid outfits with dangly pieces dogs will inevitably munch on and swallow. And, if pooch is not fond about being squeezed into a Chewbacca outfit or tuxedo it is best to leave them naked.
- COOKIE DOUGH: The smell of baking festive cookies wafting through your home is one of life’s great delights. Be careful. Unbaked yeast dough can be dangerous for pets if consumed. It can rise in a pet’s digestive tract and do internal damage.
- ALCOHOL: If you plan on having a few alcoholic beverages make sure you keep it away from your pets. Don’t leave a glass or bottle on the ground or a reachable table. Vets warn alcohol can be poisonous to pets and lead to a coma or death. As little as one ounce of alcohol can kill a small cat or dog.
- TOYS: Santa Claus may leave an awesome pile of Christmas toys behind, but they can be a hazard to your pet. If it’s new, your furry pal will likely want to take a sniff, chew it and perhaps run off to another room to rip it to pieces. Your kids won’t be happy and doggo may need a trip to the vet.
- BATTERIES/TINSEL/WRAPPING: Can anyone survive the holiday season without batteries? Picture this. Your kids are playing video games, their controllers run low, they quickly change them but leave the old ones on the floor or a side table. Yep. It won’t be long before doggo tracks them down and possibly chews on them. The same with tinsel and present wrapping paper. Your dog might view it as lunch. Tidy up!
- LIGHTS, WIRES, TROUBLE! Festive lights create festive atmosphere, but we all know if a pooch nibbles on a live wire big trouble can happen. Pups can be electrocuted, shocked or suffer mouth burns. Keep your lights and cords out of reach of curious pets. Electrical cord covers and organizers will help.
- ANTI-FREEZE & ROCK SALT: Baby It’s Cold Outside … the Christmas song tells us. If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, then, yep, there’s a chance you’ll have a freezing December. That means you may have anti-freeze or rock salt lying around in the garage or garden shed. Anti-freeze can kill pets if consumed. Rock salts are great for clearing snow off pathways, but it can irritate paws. If pets lick their paws the chemicals can make them vomit or agitated. Vets recommend ice melts with a propylene glycol base to help avoid poisoning your pooch.
- MISTLETOE/POINSETTIAS/HOLLY ETC: Festive plants also create festive spirit in your home. Many can be toxic to your pets and cause severe tummy upsets. Mistletoe, Azaleas, Holly, Lily, Poinsettias and Junipers are among the plants to keep doggo away from.
Of course, if you have any questions, please ask your vet and … have a merry, jolly, happy festive season with your furry pals!