Keeping Your Dog Safe Over the Holidays

The holiday season is fast approaching.

All the hustle and bustle and fun times are on their way, but all the decorations, trimmings, seasonal plants, and different foods could potentially be dangerous to your dog.

photos ©istockphoto

photos ©istockphoto

Seasonal Plants

Poinsettias are beautiful—and common—plants to have in your home over the holidays. They’re available for purchase at flower shops, grocery stories, and even home improvement warehouse stores. They can be hard to resist. Your dog may also find them hard to resist, and want to taste the flower or leaves. Not good: poinsettias are poisonous to dogs. If you have a poinsettia in your home, be sure to place it out of the dog’s reach.

Mistletoe, another holiday favorite, can be dangerous to dogs. If you follow tradition, you hang mistletoe in a doorway, far from your dog’s reach. But be sure to keep it out of reach until you get the ladder out and hang it.

Holly is another traditional plant used for seasonal decoration but it, too, can be poisonous to your dog. If you use it as a garland for your doorways, be sure to fasten it securely and have the ends of the plant high enough off the floor your dog can’t reach it. A loose end dangling in front of a bored dog can be a great temptation. If he’s able to grab that end and run with it, the results could be disastrous for your decoration, your house in general—and your dog’s health.

Keep an eye on the floor or table around your plant as well. Even if you’ve taken every precaution in placing your greenery safely out of your dog’s reach, leaves can drop and a good “hoover spaniel” can be on those in a second.

photos ©istockphoto

photos ©istockphoto

Holiday Decorations

Electrical cords are everywhere, and you might have a few more out than normal now. Tree lights, house lights, and inflatable decorations can all lead to more electrical cords running along your floor than usual. Try to place these cords up high, or under low-hanging furniture so your dog can’t get to them. Even well-behaved dogs can be curious about new things in their surroundings.

Trees can cause many troubles. If you put a tree up in your house, especially if it’s a real tree, make sure your dog understands that it is not an indoor potty for him. Keep pine needles swept up: they can be very sharp and can poke into the webbing between a dog’s toes or into the toe pad itself. Some evergreens are harmful to dogs as well, so be sure your dog doesn’t taste the tree. If your dog is inclined to jump against things, make sure he can’t get to the base of the tree where he could knock it over. Tinsel and icicles should be hung out of reach, as should ornaments: ornaments can break, and the holders can be dangerous to paws (or stomachs and intestinal tracts, if ingested).

Presents on the floor around the tree can be a pleasant sight, but they can also bring unwanted attention from your dog. You may want to consider moving the presents out of the dog’s reach when you’re not at home.

Candles, if placed within dog reach, can be a disastrous scenario. Place them in such a way they cannot be bumped and knocked over. Don’t set them on anything that could be pulled and cause them to fall over. No one wants to remember this holiday as the year the house caught fire.

©istockphoto/LauriPatterson

©istockphoto/LauriPatterson

Seasonal Food

Turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, pumpkin pie and whipped cream: all of these things are foods associated with the holidays. And, of course, they all smell just wonderful to your dog.

You can give your dog a little bit of white turkey meat if you wish. Avoid giving him the skin or any gravy, though: there is too much fat in those (plus who wants to share the crunchy skin, anyway?). Keep the turkey bones away from your dog: they are brittle and can shatter in his mouth, esophagus, or intestinal tract.

If you want to give your dog pumpkin, give him some straight from the can before you make a pie from it. The pumpkin won’t hurt him, but the pie has things in it he doesn’t need to eat. If you like to string cranberries and popcorn, your dog can have both of those foods in moderation, as long as the popcorn is air-popped with no oil, butter or salt.

The holidays are a wonderful time to be with friends and family. Your dog is part of the family and can take part in the fun. Just be sure to teach him to leave the tree and presents alone, take a few precautions as you decorate, and everyone will have a wonderful holiday season.

Meet the Author: Pam Hair

Pam Hair is a pet industry copywriter with Fuzzy Friends Writer, where she combines her three passions: a love of animals, a strong desire to help other people, and the joy of writing. She has been a pet parent over the years to dogs, cats, and a variety of rodents. Currently she and her husband share their home with two guinea pigs.

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