The holiday song tell you it’s the “most wonderful time of the year.” And the Christmas season can definitely bring delightful family gatherings and celebrations. But your pet might be facing a holiday nightmare if you’re not careful about some festive traditions that can prove harmful to your dog.
Gifts are an important part of the Christmas season. But as you’re wrapping the gifts make sure to do the wrapping in an area away from your pet. Wrapping paper, ribbon and other decorations can present problems if they’re ingested by your pet. Similarly, after the gifts are opened, make sure to clean up and properly dispose of the wrappings as soon as possible. Also, make sure the scissors is put up and away from your pet.
The tree is the focal point of any Christmas celebration. If you are buying a fresh Christmas tree, be aware that pine needles, when ingested, can puncture your pet’s intestines. Likewise, tinsel can be very dangerous if ingested. Decorations can be enticing to your pet, so make sure you place them out of doggy reach. Strings of lights can also provide a burning or electrical shock hazard as well as a way to bring down the tree if your pup should use grab onto them.
Consider a few things when dealing with a tree and your pet: an artificial tree may be safer, decorations should be used only on the upper branches and edible decorations like popcorn and cranberries should definitely be avoided.
Other decorations around the house can also prove hazardous to your pet. Holly, mistletoe and poinsettia plants are all poisonous to your pet. Candles are very dangerous and should be used with the utmost care, and always away from where your pet’s tail could inadvertently knock them over. And that cozy fire in the fireplace should be screened off from inquisitive pets.
What are the holidays without some indulgent food and treats? Be aware that many human foods are toxic to your pet. In particular, chocolates, the artificial sweeter xylitol, grapes and raisins and onions should be avoided at all costs. Don’t feed your dog “people” food, and ask your gifts to do the same. And make sure that the garbage can has a secure lid and is inaccessible to your pet.
With all the guests, gift giving and holiday cheer that accompany the holidays, your pet might find himself or herself overwhelmed. Make sure he or she has a safe, quiet and secure place to retreat to, such as a kennel, crate or quiet room.
Finally, a cute, cuddly puppy is an enticing gift option. In a word, don’t! Owning a pet is a lifetime commitment that comes with proper feeding, training, exercising and vet care. It is a decision that should be made with great thought and care, not as a whimsical choice at Christmas time.
With a little care, the holidays can prove delightful and safe for both you and your pet. Have a wonderful, safe holiday season from K-9 Perfection!