Why Christmastime is Dangerous to Dogs & How You Can Protect Them
One of the best things about Christmastime is indulging in so many delicious meals. From savory roasts to sweet treats, it’s worth the extra few pounds that often come with it. The member of the family with the best sense of smell – your dog – is often particularly excited by the holiday festivities. However, indulging can have much more dire consequences for your dog than gaining a little weight – certain foods can be fatal. What can you do to keep your dog safe, besides erecting the biggest and best dog fence ever made around the holiday dinner table? Here are some safety tips for dog owners to follow this holiday season.
Don’t Give Your Dog Table Scraps
The most foolproof safety rule to follow is to avoid giving your dog any table scraps whatsoever. In particular, you should never feed your dog anything containing alcohol, chocolate, or the sugar substitute xylitol. These substances are toxic to dogs even in small amounts – especially dark or unsweetened baking chocolate. Make sure you ask your guests to never leave their food or drinks unattended, and let them know your dog cannot eat anything other than dog food.
Macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, coffee, and tea all contain components that can make your dog very sick. Fatty foods – especially gravy and turkey skin – can cause pancreatitis in dogs, which is a painful condition that can require hospitalization to treat. Bones can splinter and pierce your dog’s throat, intestines, or stomach lining. Uncooked meats can contain bacteria such as E. coli, and uncooked yeast dough can expand in your dog’s stomach, causing ruptures.
Any food that your dog isn’t used to can make them sick, so the best thing to do is keep your dog out of the kitchen entirely. If you need to, use a baby gate or an indoor invisible dog fence to prevent your dog from getting into the kitchen at all, especially while you’re cooking.
Keep All Food-Related Items Out-of-Reach
If something smells good to a dog, they’ll often eat it, and one of the most dangerous situations can arise if your dog ingests a non-food item. Your dog can choke, and non-food items can cause significant internal damage. If your dog survives, surgery may be required to repair the damage or remove the item. Be cautious with everything you use in food preparation or food storage, such as aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and meat twine or string. Throw these items directly into the outdoor garbage bin whenever possible. Because some dogs can knock over large trash cans, make sure the can isn’t inside your yard or electronic dog fence perimeter.
Beware of Other Edible Toxins
There are many other things that can be dangerous to your dog if ingested, so try to keep them out of your home entirely if possible. For example, common holiday plants that are toxic to dogs are poinsettias, holly (the entire plant and its berries), and mistletoe. If you have these plants in your home, at least make sure your dog cannot reach them, and remove any fallen leaves from the ground as soon as you notice them. Pine needles can also be toxic and dangerous, as they can cause stomach irritation or tears. Common decorations that are also toxic or dangerous include: essential oils, potpourri, lit candles, tinsel, and adhesives and glues.
If you have a live Christmas tree in your home, make sure your dog does not drink the water from the stand. Stagnant water breeds bacteria, and it will also collect the pesticides and chemicals that were used to grow the tree. Even artificial trees can be attractive for dogs to chew on, and they can contain toxins, too. Some dogs like to chew on electrical wires, so light strands can be dangerous as well. If your dog will not leave the Christmas tree alone, consider purchasing an electric fence for dogs that can be placed around your tree inside. An electronic dog fence will ensure your tree is off-limits without altering its appearance.
If you notice your dog acting strangely, or if your dog is obviously sick, call your local veterinarian’s office immediately. Your vet should have a number for emergencies that occur after hours, so make sure you know it, or get the number to the local animal hospital. If you see your dog ingest something toxic, call right away for instructions, even if they’re not exhibiting any signs of illness yet – being cautious and proactive can be the difference between life and death.
On a final note remember the risks associated to fireworks and having strangers coming in and out of your house. There are more dogs that go missing in December than any other month.
We prepared these tips with the help of Dog Fence DIY. For almost ten years they have provided dog owners with the most affordable option when it comes to electric dog fences. With fences costing upwards of $2,000 finding a high-quality and low cost fence provider is key to keeping your dog safe and your budget in check.