Christmas Holiday Health Hazards for Dogs

Christmas is a joyous time of year when families engage in the hustle and bustle of the season’s activities. Like any devoted family member, your canine companion is eager to participate in these festivities. Some of the holiday celebrations can pose hazards to your dog’s health. Here are 12 dangers of Christmas that you need to be aware of to keep your dog safe.

Christmas Holiday Health Hazards for Dogs

Dogs and Christmas Trees

If you have a large, active and boisterous dog, it can knock down a Christmas tree, resulting in broken glass and possible injury. Wondering how to keep dogs away from the Christmas tree? It´s hard to find a dog proof Christmas tree but these tips might help to keep your dog and tree safe. Place the tree out of the dog’s usual running and playing zone and away from windows if your trusty guard has a tendency to jump wildly at the site of someone passing by. Alternately, you can securely tether the tree’s trunk to a sturdy hook that is anchored into the wall. Apply a chewing deterrent to the lower rows of a real tree’s branches to discourage needle noshing, which can irritate your dog’s mouth and gastrointestinal tract. Dissuade your dog from drinking water from the tree dish. The water may contain fertilizers or preservatives that you added to the water to extend the life of the tree’s beauty.

Tree Trimmings
Dogs are noted for their indiscriminate palates. They will chew on anything that catches their attention, which often leads to ingesting foreign objects that result in a bowel obstruction that requires surgery. Your tree is trimmed with a smorgasbord of potential foreign body perils, from balls to figurine ornaments to garland. Wire hooks that are used to hang ornaments can perforate the bowel if swallowed. Chewing on twinkling light bulbs can result in oral lacerations from broken glass and in electrical shock. Always supervise your dog when he is in the same room as the Christmas tree.

Christmas Blooms
Many of the holiday blooms that are popular for decorating at Christmastime pose toxicities to your dog if it chews and swallows them. Some of these poisonous plants include hollies, ivies, mistletoe, Christmas roses and amaryllis. Despite former claims, poinsettias are not deadly and will likely only afflict your dog with a bout of vomiting or nausea. Christmas cactus is a fairly safe alternative, but you can play things even safer by choosing to decorate with silk variations instead of real arrangements. Find out more about Holiday Plants that are Poisonous to Pets.

Dog Christmas Ornaments

Home Decor
Consider nibbling potential from your dog’s point of view when choosing decorations for your home. Small nativity figures, snowman and Santa statues, stockings, bows and balls can all lead to foreign body obstruction if they are swallowed, so place them out of your dog’s reach. Bundle and wrap electrical cords for holiday lights to avoid electrical shock caused by chewing.

Open Flames
Nothing sets the yuletide scene like a flaming pile of logs in the fireplace. Be sure to install a fireplace screen to provide a barrier between your napping dog and the flames and sparks. Candles that are illuminated to infuse seasonal scents and mood lighting into the room pose fire hazards. As your retriever happily strolls over to greet you, its wagging tail can accidentally knock the candle over, setting fire to the rug or furnishings. Keep all lit candles out of your dog’s reach, and never leave a lit candle unattended.

Dog Shoes for Snow and Ice

Many dogs love to frolic and play the Eskimo way when the ground is blanketed with snow. As your dog runs and darts around the yard to play with the kids, it can slip and fall on a patch of ice or hardened snow and sustain a strain, a sprain or a torn cruciate ligament. Dogs also love to partake in a snowy treat. Eating snow should be discouraged because it often results in vomiting. Find here more tips on How to keep pets warm and safe during the cold months?

Open Doors
The door to your home is opened much more frequently during the month of December as carolers, delivery carriers and house guests come and go. This raises the risk for your dog escaping. To make matters worse, if the ground is covered with thick snow and your dog wanders too far, it will not be able to rely on scents to smell the way home. Prevent escapes by confining your dog to an enclosed room whenever the door is going to be opened. As well, make sure your dog is microchipped. Keep this in mind even after your guests have arrived if one of them is a smoker who needs to step outside occasionally.

Baking with Fido

As family members come together in the kitchen for an afternoon project of holiday baking, your dog will eagerly want to assist. Keep in mind that many of the ingredients that are used to create the confections pose varying levels of toxicity or other dangers to dogs if ingested. All chocolate, raisins, nutmeg, baking powder and baking soda are toxic for dogs. Raw dough poses the risk of salmonella if it contains eggs, and ingested raw dough that contains yeast can result in bloat, which is a life-threatening emergency. Some safe baking ingredients that you can slip your dog’s way are peanut butter and dried cranberries.

Alcoholic Beverages
As you toast the holidays, remember that beer, wine, champagne, hard cider and liquors used to create those seasonal cocktails are all toxic to dogs. Alcohol suppresses your dog’s central nervous system. This can result in a staggering gait, tremors, vomiting, respiratory complications, coma and death.

Holiday Foods
It can be tempting to give in to those pleading eyes at the holiday dinner table. From ham and eggnog to rich sauces and luscious desserts, the traditional fare of Christmas contains far more fat and sugar than your dog’s usual diet. If your dog indulges in these foods, it may end up spending the rest of the week being hospitalized for a dangerous and painful condition called pancreatitis. Offer your dog a new Kong toy gift stuffed with a favorite filling to enjoy through the family dinner.

Christmas Sweaters for Dogs

Christmas card season prompts owners to dress their dogs like Santa, elves and reindeer for some adorable photographic opportunities. Once the pictures are all taken, be sure to remove the costume from your dog. Never leave a dog unattended while he is wearing a costume. In an attempt to free itself from the ensemble, your dog may end up ingesting buttons, ornamentation and sections of fabric that can lead to a bowel obstruction. Christmas dog collars with bells or without, might be a better and more comfortable option for your dog.

Dog Pictures with Santa

Taking your dog to a local shelter, animal hospital or pet supply warehouse to have his picture taken with Santa can pose some dangers to your canine friend. One of these dangers is the chance for escape or getting into a tussle with another dog on the premises. Another potential hazard is the risk for contracting an illness from another dog. Check your dog’s leash for any signs of fraying and replace it if necessary. Be sure that you dog’s collar is fitted snugly around the neck so that it cannot slip loose. Alternately, consider fastening your dog to its leash by a harness instead of the collar. Be sure that your dog is up to date on all vaccinations, including the kennel cough vaccination, to reduce the chances of contracting an illness.

By remaining mindful of these 12 dangers of Christmas, you can help to ensure that your canine companion will have a safe and enjoyable holiday season with your family. Read also Christmas Holiday Health Hazards for Cats to keep our feline friend safe.

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