Written by Hollie Williams, Owner of Lawoofs of Devon
The holiday season is a time for joy, cheer, and togetherness, and our beloved canine companions are often an integral part of the festivities. However, amidst the excitement and decorations, it's crucial to remember that certain Christmas hazards can pose a threat to our furry friends. By taking some simple precautions, we can ensure that our dogs remain safe and happy throughout the holiday season.
Beware of Toxic Plants and Decorations
Many common Christmas plants, such as poinsettias, holly, mistletoe, and lilies, can be toxic to dogs if ingested. Even small amounts of these plants can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, and other health problems. Keep these plants out of reach of your dog, or consider opting for pet-safe alternatives.
Furthermore, certain Christmas decorations, such as tinsel, ornaments, and electrical cords, can be tempting for curious dogs to chew on. Ingestion of these items can lead to intestinal blockages and other serious health issues. Ensure that these decorations are securely placed out of reach or consider using dog-proofed decorations.
Avoid Toxic Treats and Embrace Natural Alternatives
While it may be tempting to share your holiday goodies with your furry friend, resist the urge. Many human foods, such as chocolate, onions, and grapes, are toxic to dogs and can cause severe health problems. Additionally, rich and fatty foods can lead to significant digestive issues.
Instead, opt for natural dog treats that are both healthy and delicious. Here are some examples of natural dog treats that you can safely share with your canine companion:
Frozen fruits and vegetables: Frozen fruits like blueberries, strawberries, and bananas can be a refreshing and healthy treat for dogs. Vegetables like carrots, peas, and green beans can also be frozen and given as treats.
Homemade treats: You can make your own healthy dog treats using a variety of simple ingredients. For example, you can bake apple and cinnamon biscuits or freeze yogurt with berries.
Remember, moderation is key. Even healthy treats should be given in moderation to avoid weight gain or digestive upset. Always consult with your veterinarian to determine the best treats for your dog's individual needs.
Manage the Excitement
The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can be overwhelming for some dogs, especially those who are not used to large gatherings or unfamiliar faces. Provide your dog with a quiet and safe space where they can retreat if they feel overwhelmed or anxious.
Keep them on a leash during gatherings to prevent them from becoming overwhelmed or potentially causing accidents. Additionally, consider providing them with a calming pheromone diffuser or anxiety wrap to help them relax.
Secure the Tree
The Christmas tree is a festive centrepiece, but it can also pose a hazard to curious dogs. Ensure that the tree is securely anchored to prevent it from toppling over. Avoid hanging edible decorations, such as chocolate or candy, which can be tempting for dogs to chew on.
Instead, opt for dog-safe decorations or place them higher up on the tree where your dog cannot reach them. Additionally, consider using a gate or babyproofing barrier to keep your dog away from the tree when you are not around to supervise.
Observe for Signs of Illness
If you notice any changes in your dog's behaviour or appearance, such as an upset stomach, lethargy, or loss of appetite, contact your veterinarian immediately. These symptoms could indicate that they may have ingested something they shouldn't have.
Remember, prevention is always better than cure. By taking simple precautions and being mindful of potential hazards, we can ensure that our canine companions remain safe and happy throughout the festive season, allowing us to fully enjoy the joy and togetherness that Christmas brings.