Christmas is a time for family – and your dog is a hugely important part of that: wintery walks, a Christmas bone, the happy sight of your pet curled up in front of the fire – it’s all part of the magic. Don’t forget, though, that while he’s part of your family, many things that make the season so unique for humans can be dangerous for your dog. Take Christmas decorations – sparkly, delicate, transforming your home – but also a temptation that could end up with an unwelcome visit to the vet for your dog. That doesn’t mean you have to stop having fun, but it does mean taking a few sensible precautions to ensure your dog stays safe when the decorations come out. Here are some tips from the Finchley Dog Walker to ensure your Christmas decorations don’t cause harm to your dog this Christmas.
Hang your decorations safely and out of reach.
However high you hang your decorations, there’s always the possibility that they will fall on the floor for some reason or other. Check your ornaments before hanging them, and replace any wire or metal hooks with a loop of string tied in a knot – if your interested (or greedy) dog does get one in his mouth, removing hooks means they won’t get them caught on their mouths or insides. Even an uninterested dog won’t get them accidentally caught on his tail or an ear if he brushes past.
Avoid glass decorations – if they fall and break, your pet could cut his paws badly. Even worse is when your dog thinks he’s found a great new ball and starts chewing. Broken glass in the mouth? It doesn’t bear thinking about. Remember that however much he might want it, chocolate is no good for dogs, so keep any edible ornaments out of reach. It is probably best not to hang them on the tree – even dog-friendly treats – if there’s a chance he may be so excited – and determined to reach them – that he knocks or pulls the whole thing over. Look for and use decorations that are labelled “non-toxic”.
Related article: Dogs and Christmas Trees
The hidden worry of snow globes
Unfortunately, some of these fascinating snow globes, which you shake and snow appear to fall onto a festive scene, are imported from countries not governed by safety standards. Some contain antifreeze, which can now be fatal for our pets if ingested.
Candles can be fire hazards.
Although not many people light candles on their Christmas trees, many homes now have “aroma” candles and tea lights around the living room as in days gone by. These give off delightful perfumes but are also a fire hazard when your pet is around. Our curious friends can reach out a paw or take a sniff with a resulting nasty burn. There is also the risk of a candle being knocked over as the dog brushes past.
The dangers of sparkly tinsel
Please think twice before adding tinsel, as blocked intestines and seasonal surgery instead of that bracing Christmas morning walk and wrestling with the turkey is unlikely to make it a happy Christmas. That doesn’t mean you can’t dress the tree up – why not tie on ribbons in festive colours as an alternative, keeping your dog safer too.
What is lovelier than festive Poinsettia plants or mistletoe hanging over the doorway? While these traditional Christmas plants might look eye-catching, they’re all toxic if eaten by our pets. Other poisonous plants include ferns, amaryllis, holly, and sap from the Christmas tree pine needles. If you decide you need these plants in your home this festive season, ensure that they are placed well out of your pet’s reach.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t decorate your home to welcome Christmas – but take a little care to keep your pet safe.
Read our related article on Christmas plants