’Tis the season for festive decorations, delicious food and fun, holiday parties. As a dog owner, it’s important to be aware of potential dangers that can arise for your beloved pet during the holidays.
To help to make your season bright, the American Kennel Club offers the following tips to ensure that you and your dog have a safe and enjoyable holiday:
• Wires or electrical cords that are exposed can cause electrocution if chewed on. Cords can be placed in cord containers or taped to walls where pets can’t get to them.
• If you use a real Christmas tree, tie or secure it to ensure that it will not tip over onto your dog. Make sure that your dog stays away from the tree water, which contains toxins. Pine needles can be very dangerous and cause intestinal damage if ingested. You may want to consider an artificial tree or putting a dog playpen around the tree.
• When decorating, tinsel and ribbon should be placed out of reach — if consumed by your dog, it can be a choking hazard. Items such as ornaments or snow globes should be placed up high and out of reach as well. If ingested, small shards of glass or plastic could puncture the bowel.
• Poinsettias, mistletoe and holly can be toxic for your dog. These plants can cause vomiting and diarrhea and in large amounts can be fatal. Be sure to place these plants out of reach.
Looking to stuff your dog’s stockings? Choose gifts that are safe.
It’s common for dogs to tear their toys apart and swallow its pieces, which can become stuck in their esophagus, stomach and intestines. Be sure to choose a gift for your pooch that are basically indestructible. Kongs are a great example that can be stuffed with healthy treats that are designed to be safely digestible.
• A holiday party at your home can be overwhelming for your dog. Take him for a walk or set up a play date with another dog to burn off some energy. Prepare a quiet room where your dog can go to relax. Supervise all interactions between your dogs and guests.
Human food is for humans
• The holidays include lots of delicious treats. Do not to feed your pet human food or table scraps, especially raisins, macadamia nuts and grapes. These ingredients are highly toxic and can result in vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, kidney failure or death.
• Chocolate is another common ingredient that you should keep out of reach. Baking and dark chocolate are particularly dangerous for dogs and can cause serious health problems.
• Be sure to tell your guests not to share any food scraps with your pet. Poultry skin and fat, and rich gravies can induce diarrhea and vomiting.
For more information on responsible dog ownership, visit the AKC website at www.akc.org.