Doggy Dangers At Christmas – Puppy-Proofing Your Festive Season

this is an article sent in by Sally Jenson

Christmas is an exciting and bewildering time for dogs. It’s also a time filled with temptations – some of which can lead to disaster. Dogs do not understand the dangers inherent in things like trailing Christmas light cables, brittle baubles, and lovely-smelling foods which are just fine for humans to eat, but poisonous for dogs. It’s sadly all too common for veterinary surgeries to be stuffed full with sick dogs and their panicked owners over the festive period. If you want to make sure that your Christmas is a time of fun rather than of canine tragedy, take note of these common doggy dangers and take steps to ensure that your dog does not fall foul of them!

Food

One of the most common issues facing dog owners at Christmas is the abundance of food on offer. Many of our most treasured Christmas treats are actually very bad for dogs. Indeed, smuggling your dog a Christmas snack could prove fatal in some cases. While most good pet insurers should cover accidental poisoning, nobody wants to spend the Christmas period worried sick about their dog. With this in mind, try to make sure that your dog is kept away from human treats and foods this Christmas. Poison can lurk in even the most innocuous of foodstuffs – artificial sweetener Xylitol, for example, is powerfully toxic to dogs. Onions and garlic can cause dog diarrhea and vomiting, macadamia nuts will make your dog woozy and miserable, and your dog simply cannot process alcohol in the same way that we can. On a more serious note, chocolate (particularly dark chocolate) contains a substance named theobromine which dogs cannot digest very well. In mild cases, dogs who eat chocolate will have violent diarrhea and vomiting. In more severe cases, they could suffer from heart failure. Grapes, raisins, and sultanas are also serious trouble for dogs. They can cause kidney failure, which almost inevitably leads to death. Antifreeze – a substance deadly to anyone who drinks it, but particularly tempting to dogs – also tends to come into play during the colder months. Keep it away from your dog, and try to prevent your dog from licking up any splashes of it. Should your dog ingest any of these substances, take note of the amount that they’ve eaten and phone your vet immediately.

Christmas Trees And Decorations

Christmas trees are a source of powerful fascination for many dogs. Not only are they a new and intriguing presence within the house – they also appear to be covered in tempting toys and treats. It should be made very clear to your dog that Christmas tree decorations are not for playing with. It is not uncommon for vets to spend their Christmases pulling shards of glass decorations from the mouths of unfortunate dogs after they have tried to grab them from the tree. Trees present other dangers, too. If they are wrapped in electric lights, your dog could potentially drag the tree over by stumbling on the cable. Pine needles also imperil your pup’s paws – not a life-threatening problem, but a painful one. You may need to contact a vet to get the needles picked out. If your dog likes to chew things, try and ensure that they can’t get their jaws around the tree. While most Christmas tree varieties aren’t dangerously toxic, they can cause upset tummies, and in rare cases the intestines can get blocked with pine needles. Holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia are also liable to cause tummy troubles if your dog chews on them.

Busy Kitchens

This may not seem like an obvious issue, but it’s surprisingly common for dogs to get injured in the kitchen during Christmas. The busy, hectic nature of a Christmas kitchen means that people easily get distracted. While swerving to avoid other family members, cooks carrying things like boiling pans are liable to trip over dogs – which, as all dog-owners know, are past masters at getting underfoot in the kitchen. This is dangerous for everyone involved, not just the dog. It’s probably best to shut the dog out if the kitchen is getting busy – no matter how much they may want to be in the center of the action!

Batteries

All presents pose a potential problem if your dog is the kind which likes tearing things up – but some presents are more problematic than others. Presents which contain toxic foodstuffs or things which could hurt the dog if they try to chew or play with them should be kept out of reach of a chew-happy dog. Batteries are a common cause of canine hospitalisation at this time of year. If your dog chews a battery, there’s a strong chance that they’ll pierce the shell and get burned by the corrosive substances within. If they swallow batteries whole, they could obstruct your dog’s bowels or give them heavy metal poisoning. Either way, it’s best to seek advice if your dog has been having fun with batteries!

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