When you decide to ‘deck the halls’ for the Christmas season thinking about your puppy and their safety is very important; especially if it’s the first Christmas in your home. Christmas trees are very exciting with sparkling lights, pretty decorations, presents and of course the inviting smell but beware, natural curiosity can place your puppy in danger. Prevention is better than cure; the ideal scenario is putting your tree in a room that can be closed off from the rest of the house or alternatively investing in a baby gate in the doorway to prevent entry. In households where this is not possible follow our simple tips to help avoid disaster.
• Needles: Don’t let your puppy chew/eat tree needles. Tree needles are not digestible and can be mildly toxic depending on your dogs’ size and how many are ingested. Fir tree oils can irritate your dogs’ mouth and stomach causing vomiting. Dogs who like sniffing round the tree are at risk of getting scratches or ulcers on the eye from the sharp pine needles.
• Ornaments: Avoid using glass or edible ornaments; chocolate is especially toxic to dogs so these must be avoided at all costs. Glass ornaments can be placed high up on the tree out of reach if you are confident your dog will not jump up and knock the tree over.
• Lights: Don’t string the bottom of your tree with lights, some types can get very hot and burn your dog. Always switch lights off as a matter of course when leaving a room. Firmly taping any wires to the wall can help to prevent accidents.
• Tinsel: Tinsel and ribbons are great to play with however if ingested very dangerous, surgery is often needed to remove the foreign object
• Water: Tree water can be poison to your dog. Preservatives such as pesticides, fertilisers and other agents are often added to the water to extend the life of your tree.
Other things to consider
There are also other things to consider over the festive period to ensure your pet remains happy and healthy. Christmas can be a very stressful time of the year, our pets pick up on how we are feeling the chances are if you are feeling out of sorts so is your best friend, wrapping up warm and heading out for a brisk walk will do you both good. Christmas is also very disruptive, routines are out of the window and additional visitors and parties may be upsetting for your pet; make sure they have a ‘safe quiet place’ to escape to when things get too much. We all put on a little extra weigh over the festive period but be careful not to share your ‘treats’ with your pet: nuts, chocolate and raisins can be deadly. Christmas also means ice and snow which most dogs love, however slips and trips are more common this time of the year so keep you dog on the lead until it is safe to let them off, dry your dogs feet before they walk back into the house (if you do not have Floors for Paws) as smooth flooring and wet feet don’t mix. If your dog is prone to arthritis or small, short walks more often are better to ensure they don’t get too cold. And finally please be careful with anti-freeze it causes kidney failure if ingested; store it away from children and animals.
Christmas is a wonderful time of the year where we all get to spend time with our loved ones including our four legged family members so eat, drink and be merry.