Christmas is fast approaching and many of us are gathering up our decorations and presents. Despite the Christmas fun there are a few things we need to remember to make things safe for our furry friends – trees, bauble, tinsels and delicious treats can all be fun but can also be hazards for our pets!
Here are some top tips for creating a dog friendly home this Christmas:
Mistletoe, Holly and Poinsettias can cause problems and some can even be fatal to dogs and cats if ingested, they are also often preserved with chemicals to last the holiday season. Even the Christmas tree is a potential hazard; if eaten they can cause tummy upsets, irritation and blockages. If you are concerned that tour dog has eaten any of these you should contact your vet for advice.
Try to keep decorations out of reach, towards the top of the tree or block off their access to ground level decorations.
Noisy decorations such as bells are better towards the top of the tree as they can be very enticing, also avoid hanging decorations where your dog will jump up to investigate as this can lead to scratches on the wall or furniture.
Baubles may look like a sparkly tennis ball, but if you pup happens to smash one it could lead to cut paws and mouths so it is important to avoid letting them play with them or take them from the tree!
If you add festive chocolates to your Christmas tree, make sure to place them high up so that dogs cannot be tempted to pinch them before you do!
Keep presents out of paws reach
Dogs can be monsters of destruction, and an array of new children’s toys left on the floor can be overly tempting for pups to chew on. Small parts can be harmful if chewed or swallowed and the small silicone packets that are used in a lot of packaging should be removed immediately.
Don’t forget to keep any food related gifts high out of reach and if your dog is likely to chew in general, you should supervise at all times and you may consider moving presents into another room.
Crinkly paper, flowing ribbons and sticky tape can all seem like a fun game to our pups, however these should be picked up and hidden away. If eaten they can cause serious blockages and if chewed will ruin your gifts, some dyes used in paper can also be irritants. Swallowing tinsel, ribbons or any other material can result in an obstructed digestive tract, often needing veterinary assistance.
Dangerous human foods
Sweets, Christmas pudding, chocolate, raisins and nuts are all commonly eaten at Christmas. It is best to ask any guests to watch what they drop, and not feed the dog. Other food such as onions, leeks and garlic are also dangerous to dogs, these are commonly used in our cooking such as gravy (which is also high in salt) so be mindful of the leftovers you share!
Batteries are extremely dangerous
If punctured they can lead to chemical burns and poisoning and if ingested can cause similar issue. You should keep these locked up until needed and keep watch when putting toys together.
Watch out for the door
Many households have lots of relatives coming and going throughout the day, often letting themselves in and out. Be careful to keep dogs away from entrances as they can easily dash out unnoticed and while guests are expected it is a good idea to keep a collar on with up to date information just in case (microchips must be kept up to date).
Candles should be kept out of reach and out of the way of tails as can be easily knocked off surfaces or cause burnt noses! A great alternative are battery LED tealights however it is still important not to them get hold of one.
Wires and cords
Trees and decorations often require a power source, which means cables everywhere! Covering them or keeping a watchful eye can reduce the risk of chewing and electric shocks. Avoid loose or hanging cables as they have been cases of dogs becoming entangled and sadly even strangled. Whenever you aren’t using them or you are not home always unplug your Christmas lights and keep them well out of your dog’s reach.
Create a dog friendly space
Although some dog’s are ok with being dressed up you should avoid forcing your dog to wear something they are not comfortable in, also please do not leave dogs alone when dressed in costumes as they can potentially be dangerous.
This busy time can be very overwhelming for our pets, dogs that are not used to children may also feel overwhelmed with being pulled on or lots of noise. Provide a quieter spot in the house to escape to; overtired and overexcited pups can have some chill time on their own. Certain rooms such as the kitchen are probably best being out of bounds to dogs, hot dishes and food mixed with persistent pups may not end well.
For dogs that are not always happy to see guests, provide visitors with some tasty treats to offer you dogs so they associate guests with something positive. Also don’t be afraid to ask guest to leave your dog alone if they are afraid or nervous, unwanted attention will only make this worse, also ask guests to ignore your dog if they are boisterous until they have calmed down as this will make the behaviour worse.
Have a wonderful Christmas whatever your plans and keep safe this Christmas!