The festive season can be a peculiar time for our dogs. Their usual, safe environment is filled with Christmas trees, sparkling lights, flowers and noisy crackers. There may be unfamiliar visitors coming to your home, and your routine is likely to change. Finchley Dog Walker has suggested several of the pet hazards around at this time of the year, but it goes without saying that if you are in doubt about the health or safety of your pet, take further advice from your Vet.
1st day of Christmas – Christmas Tree
The Christmas tree is going up today – if you have a real pine tree, beware of sharp pine needles that can easily become embedded in your dog’s paws. One of the worst hazards for pets is tinsel. A dog will attempt to eat a string of tinsel like spaghetti, when it may cause a digestive obstruction.
2nd day of Christmas – Tree decorations
Christmas bauble decorations are designed to look stunning and attractive, yet this also means they’re probably quite tempting for your pets. While they won’t usually be toxic if eaten, baubles can smash into shards or splinter which would obviously cause blockages or perforation if eaten, not to mention how painful It will be if your dog treads on broken glass.
3rd day of Christmas – Christmas lights
Christmas tree lights and others such as illuminated snowmen, may look gorgeous in your living room, but just one bite into a cable strand can be literally shocking to your dog! Not only can this produce an unfortunate house fire, but a broken live electricity cable can cause a painful burn in your dog’s mouth, possibly even a build-up of fluid in their lungs, or unpleasant seizures. Other Christmas decorations can also be dangerous
4th day of Christmas – Wrapping gifts
As you are wrapping everyone’s Christmas presents, remember that dogs are very inquisitive and may attempt to chew and eat the ribbons and wrapping bows. Don’t leave your wrapping supplies lying around the house, and prevent any unfortunate digestion and gastric obstructions.
5th day of Christmas – Mistletoe
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a kiss under the Mistletoe, but if your dog eats only a small amount of this plant you can except a stomach upset with excessive drooling. If eaten in large quantities, neurological issues or heart rhythm and heart rate problems may result – call the Vet as soon as possible. If you must have real Mistletoe in the house, remove the berries and hang it up high, well out of your dog’s reach.
6th day of Christmas – Christmas flowering plants
Holly, Poinsettia and Cyclamen – which the majority of homes will have on display over the holidays. Cyclamen plants are more toxic to your pet than a Poinsettia, and if eaten can cause digestive upsets and excess salivation, heart rhythm abnormalities and seizures. It’s the tuber of the plant that can prove fatal so keep well away from all pets. Holly leaves are obviously very prickly but it’s doubtful if your dog will actually attempt to eat them.
7th day of Christmas – Batteries
We all make sure we stock up on batteries from those Christmas toys, but if your dog chews and pierces a battery it may well cause heavy metal poisoning or chemical burns. If swallowed whole, a battery may well cause a stomach obstruction. All batteries are possibly toxic, so if you suspect your dog has swallowed or chewed a battery, contact your local Vet.
8th day of Christmas – Chocolate
Chocolate is all around us at Christmas – selection boxes, gift boxes and hand-baked goods. Wrapped or not, your dog is certain to sniff it out and eat it if at all possible. Chocolate contains theobromine, a stimulant (similar to caffeine) that is poisonous if eaten by dogs. Damage may be caused to the kidneys, nervous system and heart, with symptoms to look out for being seizures, hyperactivity, restlessness, diarrhoea and vomiting.
9th day of Christmas – Dried fruits and nuts
Who doesn’t love a slice of Christmas Cake or Figgy Pudding? These both contain dried fruits, which are extremely toxic if eaten by your dog and could cause kidney failure. Macadamia nuts are another festive treat that must be kept well out of your pet’s reach with severe symptoms appearing as little as 12 hours after eating them.
10th day of Christmas – Alcohol
Raise a glass to Christmas – the presents are wrapped, the tree is decorated, it’s time to relax with a glass of festive cheer. Make sure that your dog doesn’t help himself to a drink from your glass, as alcohol is considerably more toxic to your dog than to a human. Alcoholic food products and beverages may cause tremors, difficulty breathing, decreased coordination, coma or even the death of your beloved dog.
11th day of Christmas – Houseguests
Yes we know Christmas is all about spending time with your family and loved ones, but remember your dog may be quite stressed about strangers entering his home environment, especially if he is quite an anxious dog to start with. Visitors usually bring with them gifts, so make sure that chocolates, alcohol, fruit cake, boxes of dried apricots and nuts are kept well out of your pet’s reach. Ask your house guests not to feed food items to your dog, and if possible, place your pet in a safe, quiet room, away from all the party games and excitement. Please ask the dogs permission first
12th day of Christmas – Christmas Day Meal
Enjoy your Christmas festivities, and your lunch, but also remember that both turkey and chicken bones are very dangerous if eaten by your dog, as they can easily splinter and cause a digestive obstruction. Your dog can quite happily eat a festive meal with you, including turkey meat, potatoes with most green or mixed vegetables, however still remember to feed him in moderation. No one likes to feel bloated and full on Christmas Day!
Finchley Dog Walker would like to wish all clients, customers and their pets, a very joyous, safe, happy and healthy Christmas.