So Christmas is just around the corner and for some of you, its your first christmas with your puppy so you may not be aware of some of the hazards and dangers that are in your house around this festive time. To help you keep your pup safe, I have compiled a list of Christmas Safety tips to help guide you safely through the jolly season. Puppy proofing your house at Christmas is a must to ensure a safe festive season.
1. The biggie, FOOD! At Christmas our house if full of foods that are dangerous or toxic to dogs. Also at this time of year we are busier, so maybe less observant of what our puppy is up to or we may have guests staying that just aren’t aware of what dogs can and cant eat or should or shouldn’t be playing with. Chocolate is a popular gift at Christmas, but also most houses have chocolate on the coffee table in bowl for everyone to help themselves, this could include your dog if you are not careful. I know it doesn’t look as nice keeping your quality street in the box and the chocolates look much prettier in a bowl, but to keep your pet safe I would advise keeping the chocolates out of reach or in a tub with a lid. Chocolate contains theobromine which can cause organ damage or failure. If your dog eats chocolate it will involve a visit to the vet, not what you want on any day but especially Christmas day. The other thing to be aware of is putting edible decorations on your tree. I know it is tradition to hang edible chocolates on the Christmas tree but if you have a dog in the house, my advise is DON’T put chocolates on the tree. Even if you only put them up the top half of the tree, thinking now they are out of reach of your dog, a determined dog will still try to get them by jumping up (and probably knocking your tree over) or by climbing on something to get to the goodies. Remember dogs have extremely powerful noses so they will easily be able to sniff out the goodies, so much better not to have them around to avoid temptation.
Mincepies, Christmas pudding, Christmas cake – all contain raisins which are extrememly toxic to dogs so take extra care to make sure they are out of reach. If your dog eats anything with raisins in, you will need to get him or her to the vets immediately as there is a higher chance of survival if your dog gets prompt treatment. If treatment is delayed and there are signs of kidney failure your dog may suffer longlife health issues or in severe cases lose their life.
Other foods not to feed your dogs, Turkey skin, turkey bones, stuffing, sage, onions, garlic, nutmeg, nuts, mushrooms, fatty foods, corn on the cob, chocolate, butter, bread dough and alcohol. Turkey skin can be extremely hazardous as it holds any marinade, spices, butter and oils which can lead to pancreatitis. Onions and garlic contain sulphides which are toxic to dogs, Nuts could cause a toxic reaction called macadamia nut toxicosis. Nutmeg can cause seizures and central nervous system problems. Dough can actually rise inside your dogs stomach causing bloating and severe pain. Alcohol, is not something you should share with your best 4 legged friend. Most dogs love the taste of beer but the hops in beer is toxic and could cause death. So don’t let your guests leave their pint on the floor beside the sofa as your dog may help himself!
2. The Christmas Tree! Make sure you put it somewhere sensible. Even if this means you cannot put it in the traditional place that you do every year. Depending on the age of your pup, you may want to consider blocking off your tree as the really young pups will see this as a new “thing” to play with and you could find your pup swinging off the tinsel. If using tinsel to decorate your tree beaware that puppies will be attracted to playing with it and if swallowed could cause vomiting and obstructions. Young dogs or puppies who are not familiar with a Christmas tree in the house will find the lights and decorations interesting and want to investigate which could involve the tree being knocked over which apart from being very annoying as all your hard work decorating it is now in a mess on the floor, but if you have glass baubles on the tree, these could smash so now you have glass on the floor and your young puppy could easily eat a piece which could cause internal bleeding or organ damage. So if you are using glass baubles consider putting your tree behind a barrier or not decorating the bottom section of the tree. Don’t let your dog drink water out of the Christmas tree stand as it could contain bacteria that might make your puppy sick. If you are having a real tree be careful when it starts to drop its needles as you don’t want your puppy to ingest them and they can be painful if stuck in paws, so regularly vacuum up dropped needles or it might be worth using a fake tree instead.
3. Holly, Poinsettia and Mistletoe are all poisonous to your dog if ingested so keep out of reach or maybe use artificial instead.
4. Bones! Don’t give any cooked bones to your dog. They may splinter, cause tooth damage, internal perforations or blockages. Dogs should only ever have raw bones never cooked.
5. Wiring! extension leads are used a lot at Christmas. Be careful that your puppy cant get tangled in any leads. Also make sure they are not able to bite/chew them as they could get a shock or electrocution. Make sure that they cant get hold of a extension lead and pull it, pulling items off a shelf which could result in your puppy getting startled or possibly crushed.
6. wrapped gifts under the tree! If you like to put all your presents under the tree in the build up to Christmas then you need to make sure your puppy is not left unattended in that room. To him they are new toys to investigate and rip open. Not only can the wrapping paper, glitter, Sellotape or ribbons be dangerous but also what is inside the parcel could be dangerous for your pup, so supervision is a must.
7. Christmas Crackers! the loud bang of Christmas crackers or party poppers can be quite scary for puppies so its probably best to put him in another room or out in the garden while you pull them. Be careful that none of the little gifts inside the cracker are dropped on the floor as they could be chewed and swallowed.
So in summary, there are lots of hazards and dangers in your house over the Christmas period so supervision is key. Also as this is your pups first Christmas and the house will probably be busier than normal, have more guests than normal and the normal routine for the humans of the house be totally different, try as much as possible to make sure your pups routine is kept as normal as possible with regular feed times, exercise and training. Christmas is a busy, chaotic and exciting time for everyone, including your puppy and a big part of making sure your puppys first Christmas successful is making sure they are always supervised. Large gatherings can be overwhelming for your puppy, so provide a quiet area, such as a crate or behind a stairgate, so your puppy can get away from the hustle and bustle if you are having people around. People coming and going is also an easy time for your puppy to bolt out the door and get lost or hurt so popping your puppy behind a stairgate or in a crate will keep him safe when people are arriving or leaving. Also puppies are excited and curious when people arrive especially if they are bringing luggage or presents. Your guests might leave a handbag on the floor which may have aspirin or other tablets in it and if your puppy isn’t being supervised then your puppy could end up eating them, so again make sure your guests are aware about leaving hazards exposed to the puppy or put your puppy safely away in another room or in his crate with a stuffed kong or a pigs ear to chew on. Christmas is a fun festive time for all to enjoy but make sure its a pet safe Christmas and you don’t need to use the emergency vet number!