How To Keep Your Dog or Puppy Safe During The Holidays


Hidden Holiday Dangers

The holiday season offers abundant opportunities for your dog or puppy to wreak havoc and, in the process, hurt themselves. Though many of the dangers are obvious, there are a few that can easily be overlooked.  For instance,years ago we made a hasty Christmas Eve trip to the vet after we discovered too late that my foster Greyhound was delighted to discover a gift of Godiva chocolates which he mistakenly presumed was intended for him. He was delighted with his find. Me? Not so much. Let’s face it - dogs can and will eat almost anything and these x rays prove it.

Don’t let your present end up here!

Three Often Overlooked Dangers

  • The water in the tree stand
  • Needles from a live or artificial tree
  • Gifts placed under the tree that contain chocolate

Be mindful that the water in the tree stand may contain pesticides, chemicals, preservatives, and  fertilizers that have  leached into the water. As the water evaporates these contaminants become even more concentrated. The water will also have high levels of bacteria and would be unhealthy for your dog to drink. Many people recommend using aspirin in the water to help the tree remain fresh but large doses of aspirin can be toxic to dogs. The safest approach is to have a covered tree stand.

Pine needles contain oils that are very irritating to the gastrointestinal tract which includes the mouth. Artificial trees can contain toxins as well and both types of trees pose the possibility of causing intestinal obstructions.

If you place gifts you receive under the tree, check with the person who has given it to you to be sure it is not edible.  Many dogs are attracted to chocolate which is toxic to dogs, and though we can’t smell it, they certainly can.

Holiday Plants That Are Toxic

Why is it that some of the plants most commonly associated with the holidays are so toxic? For whatever reason, the three most common are Mistletoe, Holly and Poinsettia. Keep these well away from your dog.

Other Dangers This Time Of Year

There are lots of electrical cords about now and puppies are often attracted to and seem to enjoy the texture of electrical cords. Many ornaments are glass and if eaten can cause intestinal obstructions or ruptures. They can also be toxic.

Tell Tale Signs

Though not a complete list, following are some symptoms that may indicate that your dog or puppy has over-indulged this holiday season on something that is toxic or indigestible.

  • Excessive panting
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Changes in behavior such as lethargy, excessive licking, excessive urination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Black stools
  • Drooling
  • Extreme thirst

Best Practices

Exercise pens can be placed around the tree. This approach also helps to convince those in your household who may be convinced that you have suddenly decided to gift them with indoor plumbing.  Though it is usually the males who decide to mark the tree, I have had some girls to do this as well. I especially like the heavier plastic exercise pens as they seem more stable, but the traditional metal exercise pens can be found with a decorative and festive brass finish – so right for the holidays!

Covered tree stands are easy enough to find at almost any place who sells trees.  They run a little higher than the mor4e common open style, but well worth the extra just to have peace of mind.

Electrical cords can’t always be placed out of reach, which of course is the best approach so check often for telltale chew marks. You can also use a distasteful repellent such as Bitter Apple on the cords. Don’t rely solely on these products though as some dogs just consider them hors d’oeuvres.

Related Posts

Puppy Chewing and Prevention

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2 Responses to “How To Keep Your Dog or Puppy Safe During The Holidays”

  1. Sage 14. Dec, 2010 at 10:13 am #

    Mom said she didn’t put up a tree this year because they aren’t going to be here for Christmas, but I really think it’s because I’d have too much fun playing with it….

  2. Amy@GoPetFriendly 15. Dec, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    Good advice, Elizabeth!

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