Christmas is a great time of year for everyone but it can be dangerous for the family pet. Make sure that your dog is kept safe this Christmas by following these tips for Christmas safety.
Keep chocolate secured up high – chocolate is toxic to dogs, and dark chocolate, popular at Christmas is more toxic than milk chocolate. It takes just a few seconds for a dog to grab that box of chocolates, and the danger may not be immediately apparent. Some breeds are more food orientated than others but for safety sake – keep the chocolate locked up.
Give dogs a place to retreat to if they wish to when company is over. Many dogs welcome visitors and seem to enjoy the bustle of the holidays as much as we do, but for others strangers and disruptions in their routine is a stressful thing. Some dogs aren’t used to being around children, or don’t like the accidental bumps and jostles that happen. Give your dog a place that he can get out of the way. Many dogs have a crate that is their private domain and having this open so they can lay down in peace helps them cope with the holidays better.
Always make sure they have tags on in case they slip out the door. With company coming and going it takes just a moment for a dog to slip out the door and be gone. Always have tags on your pet and keep a clear recent photo in case they get out. While many also say microchip not all shelters check for this so that may or may not help your dog. If the vet or shelter doesn’t have a compatible reader it won’t help as much as other identification.
Keep cooked bones out of the trash or take it out promptly. Raw bones are used in many raw fed diets but cooked bones splinter. Leftovers from dinner that involve poultry bones and other food items can be tossed in the compost bin or removed from anywhere your dog can get them. Yes many dogs get lucky for years eating them but it takes one time for a fatal consumption when the sharp bone causes problems.
Protect cords so that dogs and puppies can’t chew them – there are more cords laying around to power lights and other things this time of year, so minimize the contact where a dog can chew on them. This is another great reason to use crates – they have appropriate things to chew on and cords aren’t one of them! Additionally use caution in covering cords – they can heat up and cause a fire risk.
Keep the Christmas tree secured solidly. This is a good idea for many reasons but a rambunctious dog can tip a tree. Make sure the tree is secured solidly in a bucket or tree stand!
Protect feet when out for winter walks. Snow, ice and de-icing agents such as salt can cause irritation for a dog’s feet. For those in extreme temperatures or where contact with chemicals is a possibility there are dog booties available that protect their feet. This is not a fashion statement but a physical protection. Watch the dog’s feet regularly for drying, cuts or other problems that can be easily fixed when small.
Sugar free treats that have Xylitol in it are even more dangerous than chocolate. Xylitol is sweet and used in many “sugar free” candy and gum products. For humans this is beneficial but for dogs Xylitol is toxic. It has been associated with liver failure and serious issues. Especially for small dogs it does not take a large amount to do damage. This is as serious as chocolate consumption.
Christmas decorations especially the hooks can be very dangerous if swallowed. Some dogs have a tendency to taste anything they find. Christmas decorations, especially broken glass ornaments and the hooks that hang ornaments on the tree can be very dangerous if consumed.
Several holiday plants such as poinsettia, mistletoe and holly can be toxic to dogs. Watch dogs carefully when around these plants. Although they normally won’t eat things that are toxic if a berry is dropped on the floor they can swallow it quickly.
Keep this a safe and healthy holiday season for you AND your dogs!