From food to tinsel, what looks festive to us may be a hazard for your pup. Here's how to easily avoid accidents.
The holidays are a time when the house looks dazzling, the food and drinks flow, and gifts gather under the tree waiting for that magical Christmas morning.
But all these seasonal enjoyments for us humans could pose a problem for the dogs in the family if not done in a safe way. And the last thing you want during the holidays is an expensive vet visit or the stress of your pooch getting into something dangerous.
Here are 11 things in your holiday-themed home to dog-proof so everyone can celebrate safely this season.
1. Christmas Tree
A tree in the middle of the house? Kind of a dog’s dream. But there are a number of dangers to consider when displaying a Christmas tree.
Make sure your tree is very secure - preferably in a corner of the room - to avoid falling and to prevent accidents from curious pets jumping and climbing.
If using a real tree, sweep up fallen pine needles daily. These sharp needles can not only cut your dog, but if swallowed, will easily cause internal complications. Keep your tree area clean.
For real trees, also make sure the water reservoir is not easily accessible to your dog. The water is not a nice drink for a dog, as it contains sappy residue. And if you use a preservative or fertilizer in the water, the chemicals found in them are toxic if consumed.
2. Chocolate and Candy
There’s no doubt that chocolate will be a part of your holidays. But remember to never feed your dog this treat. A chemical called theobromine that’s found in cocoa is extremely toxic for dogs and can cause heart problems, seizures, or even death.
Candy isn't great for us, but it’s especially bad for dogs. The sugar in sweet treats is not friendly to a dog’s system and can even lead to weight gain and diabetes.
Tree decorations look pretty, but can spell disaster for nosy pets. Keep ornaments high on the tree, displaying them above dog-level. Hang your ornaments with string, not wire or hooks, which can be dangerous.
If your dog is attracted to such shiny things, choose non-breakable ornaments. Glass balls and bells will shatter in a dog’s mouth if they become snacks or toys. Try to avoid scented or edible decorations as well.
Like tinsel, the bows, string, and curly ribbons on wrapped presents present a hazard if swallowed. Consider a simpler way to wrap, or keep the fancy packages out of reach until Christmas morning.
The sparkly streams of tinsel make a Christmas tree shine, but if chewed and swallowed by your dog, tinsel can be a sure-fire ticket to the veterinary clinic. Long, sharp strands of this stuff can cause intestinal blockages or internal cuts and injuries. Make sure to hang it high or simply don’t use it at all.
Colourful bulbs and baubles look pretty around the house and on the tree, but can burn noses, or worse, cause internal injuries if eaten. Keep your lights higher up on the tree and walls.
Wires and cords should be taped to walls or covered in a protective casing to prevent electrocution if your dog is a notorious cord-chewer.
We traditionally light more candles around the house during the festive season. Remember common sense, and keep them out of reach from any brushes with fur. And of course, blow candles out when you’re done with the mood lighting.
8. Seasonal Plants
Old school holiday decorations like mistletoe and holly are poisonous for pets, so keep them out of reach and watch for fallen bits. The toxins in these plants can cause major gastrointestinal stress or lead to serious sickness.
Contrary to popular belief, the popular poinsettia plant isn’t as toxic as we think. However, consumed in large amounts, it can lead to doggie diarrhea, which isn't anyone’s Christmas wish.
9. Dinner Food
A lot of eating goes on during this season. And it means more opportunity for table scraps or sneaky dog eats at dinner. But remember during your big meals that bones are a no-no for your pup. Cooked bones - especially poultry bones - will splinter and shatter when chewed, causing damage inside your dog’s mouth and digestive system.
For a reminder of more eats to avoid, see our list of the 14 surprising foods your dog should never eat.
Curious canines will no doubt sniff out all the new things around the house. Be particularly careful about leaving little plastic pieces and breakable toys scattered on the floor.
There’s a lot to throw out at Christmas, and with the garbage trucks taking holidays too, the piles of waste add up. Be sure to keep garbage bags tied tightly and containers sealed shut to prevent your dog getting into any turkey bones, gift ribbons, or any other dangerous waste.