Tips for a Dog Safe Holiday Season
This holiday season brings with it great decorating and great food to celebrate the season, but considerations should be made for the safety of your dog. Let’s take a look at a few tips for keeping your dog safe during this holiday season.
Holiday decorating is always a fun part of celebrating that often includes plants, flowers, and Christmas trees. Here are a few things to keep mind when decorating for the holidays.
Poinsettias are beautiful holiday flowers but are dangerous to dogs and cats. The sap from the leaves can irritate their mouth and esophagus and ingesting the leaves can cause nausea and vomiting. If you use Poinsettias to decorate inside your home, keep them out of reach of your dogs and cats.
The Holly and the Ivy may be a beautiful traditional Christmas carol, but the holly plant and its berries are toxic to dogs. It’s best to only use them outdoors and not inside your home.
Although you might kiss a loved one or even your dog under the mistletoe, keep this plant away from your dog. Mistletoe contains multiple substances that are toxic to both dogs and cats and can cause severe intestinal issues, breathing difficulties, seizures, and even death.
Lilies and Daffodils are pretty flowers but they are toxic to dogs. If ingested they can cause kidney failure and gastrointestinal issues.
Christmas Trees are a beautiful traditional element to decorating a home, but precautions should be taken when displaying a real Christmas tree in your home. Real trees produce oils that will irritate your dog’s stomach and can cause excessive drooling and vomiting. The water that nourishes your tree contains bacteria and mold that can make your dog sick, so block your dog's access to the water. If you use an artificial tree that can often shed their plastic needles, be sure to keep the area well vacuumed.
Holiday Foods - Not all human food is good for dogs, so let’s take a look at some holiday favorites that are both good and not so good.
Many families have a traditional turkey dinner as the main holiday dish. Sharing a small piece of turkey is ok for your dog as long as it is thoroughly cooked, boneless and has no spices or gravy. Never give your dog turkey on a bone or the leftover carcass as bones can be extremely dangerous to their digestive system.
Some vegetables are fine for your dog including sweet potatoes and green beans, but be sure they are not dressed up with lots of sugar, salt, garlic, onions, leeks or chives.
If you bake fresh bread or pies, never let your dog have uncooked dough. It can cause stomach aches and bloating that could develop into a medical emergency.
Sweets and human treats can cause an upset stomach for your dog and some ingredients may be deadly, so avoid giving your dog any of your desserts. Remember chocolate is toxic to dogs and the artificial sweetener xylitol can be poisonous for your dog. Pies and cakes often contain currants and raisins which are also toxic to dogs.
Holiday celebrations tend to generate a lot of food trash, so be sure you keep your trash receptacle is covered and inaccessible to your dog. You never know what can be lurking in the trash can that could be deadly or make your dog sick.
If at any time you think your dog may have ingested any poisonous or toxic plants or food, call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline at 888-426-4435, 24 hours/7 days a week.
Don't forget to let your family know what your home safety rules are for protecting your dog while they are visiting during the holidays. Remind your guests not to feed your dog table scraps and to keep their belongings secure and out of reach of your dog, especially any medications or nutritional supplements.
With a few safety measures in place, you and your dog can have a Safe and Happy Howliday Season.
For more information on holiday safety for your dog, take a look at these articles:
Holiday Safety (ASPCA)
Winter Holiday Pet Safety (AVMA)