Part of the fun of the holidays is the temporary renovation they bring to our homes. While the often over the top decorations and festivities bring a lot of spirit and joy to the holidays, they offer a fair amount a danger to our pets. Anything new spurs intense curiosity in a dog and the radical change our homes undergo for the christmas season is a sensual buffet for our furry friends. Unfortunately, many of the entrees on this buffet may pose a serious risk to their health. Here are seven things to keep in mind when preparing your home for the holiday this season.
- Beware of Harmful Decorations
When decorating a home with a dog, the selection and placement of holiday decorations is vitally important. Many plant based decorations, such a mistletoe, holly and poinsettia are toxic to dogs. Avoid decorating with live plants or make sure that they are solidly out of reach of your pets.
Manufactured ornaments and tinsel may pose a risk as well. Ornaments may be eaten in large pieces and cause a bowel obstruction or cut the digestive tract as they move through. Tinsel can bunch and twist in the digestive tract and cause an obstruction or strangulation as well.
Candles are often introduced into the home around the holidays. Excercise an extreme amount of caution in homes with dogs when using candels. They can burn the animal and, even worse, tip over and cause a fire.
- Tree Water Dangers
If you decorate with a live tree, use only fresh water. Dogs are used to water being put out for them in a bowl, and the base of your tree is a very attractive option. If you have a dog, do not use any additives in the water as it may be poisonous to them. Pay particular attention to the water to ensure it is not being drank by the dog to ensure the tree stays hydrated. It is also a good idea to purchase a tree stand with a cover that prevents pets from drinking to water.
- Manage Cords
Dogs love to chew and a new opportunity to explore can be a lot of fun. If you have a nibbler, especially with new puppies, be sure that electrical cords from lights and decorations are out of reach to avoid a dangerous electrical shock.
- Watch What Goes Under the Tree
While wrapping paper keeps package contents out of sight, a dogs powerful nose alerts them to exactly what is inside. Dangerous items such as food, especially chocolate, should never be left under the tree or within reach of a dog. Take it from us, they are really good an unwrapping presents. Be sure to leave a note for Santa too!
- Take Care with Unsafe Foods
Sweets are a natural part of the holiday, but can be toxic to dogs, especially chocolate. Alcohol is toxic as well. While it is fun to celebrate with a vast spread of goodies, be careful to ensure that dangerous foods and that big bowl of grandpas eggnog are kept out of reach.
- Don’t Over Feed
Feeding a dog table scraps is a personal decision for each pet owner that should be carefully considered. If you do chose to feed table scraps and leftovers to your pet, ensure that they are safe for them (no overly fatty foods or chicken bones, for example) and watch how much you are giving to them. Scraps while cooking or over a long dinner or snacking period add up quickly and can be a big shock to a digestive system used to a bland, balanced dog food diet.
- Manage Guests
As guests come to stay at your home, be sure they are briefed on how you care for you pet, including what you do and do not feed them. Be sure that guests are made aware of the dangers of leaving out medications, socks and other dangerous items that a dog is likely to get into. Those without dogs are often unaware of the special accommodations that must be made in a home with a pet to ensure their safety.
Have a safe, happy holiday season with your furry friends!