Looking at Christmas from your dog’s point of view, it’s a very exciting time of the year when many strange and unusual items are brought into your home, which means it’s time for adventures and mischief for them. Christmas trees, unusual plants, shining decorations, presents and interesting foods will all be of enormous interest to your pet, yet not all of these items are safe if eaten by your dog. Take extra precautions to ensure that your dog is not allowed access to any of these food and plant products, however, if he does manage to consume any of them, seek assistance and advice from your Vet.
Christmas Trees – Pine needles will be sharp and could pierce your dog’s paw pads. Oil from the pine needles may irritate the stomach and mouth, resulting in excessive salivation and vomiting if swallowed. Be aware of your dog attempting to chew the cable on the Christmas lights, and even chewing the tinsel or the glitzy baubles on the tree. These could cause an obstruction, or worse still, may splinter and result in a gastric rupture.
Holly – The spikey leaves of the holly bush may cause physical damage if eaten, whereas the berries can cause diarrhoea and vomiting.
Ivy – Skin contact with ivy may bring on an allergic contact dermatitis, or a severe irritation.
Mistletoe – European mistletoe is low toxic, bit if the berries are eaten, they could cause a stomach upset.
Poinsettia – Although not deadly toxic if eaten, it can still cause vomiting and excessive salivation.
Toys – Be aware of your dog searching out and chewing small toys, which although appealing to him, can cause a blockage if swallowed.
Wrapping paper – other than the risk of an obstruction in the gut if eaten, crepe paper and wrapping paper are usually quite harmless to dogs, other than some staining around his mouth.
Batteries – Your dog may chew a battery and puncture it with his teeth, resulting in either chemical burns to his mouth or in some cases, heavy metal poisoning. A dangerous stomach blockage may occur, that will need surgical intervention. Look out for symptoms of being off their food, lethargy, vomiting and difficulty defecating.
Silica Gel Sachets – Although non-toxic, these little sachets are often found in packaging with handbags, shoes and electrical items. They aren’t poisonous if swallowed, but could cause an obstruction in the gut.
If you’re expecting family and friends to visit your home over the festive period, take care with gaping doors and be prepared for your dog to rush through an open door, especially if there are strangers around. Ensure that your dog has been microchipped and is wearing a collar with ID if they decide it’s time to escape from the stress and noise of the party.
There are numerous food items that present a danger if eaten by your dog, such as Macadamia nuts, fruit cake, Christmas pudding and mince pies, which all contain dried fruit, and of course chocolate which contains theobromine, highly toxic if eaten by your pet. Avoid putting any chocolate tree decorations either on or under the Christmas tree, as we all know the temptation to eat it is just too great for any dog.
Alcohol can have a similar effect on dogs as it does to humans, becoming drowsy and wobbly if taken in excess. In severe cases, low blood sugar, coma and low body temperature will occur.
We honestly cannot think of a more serious way to spend the Christmas Holidays than with your pet and an emergency visit to the Vet’s surgery. By being aware of any dangers and potential hazards in your home, you can take appropriate precautions to ensure that both you and your dog will have a fabulous Christmas.