As Christmas looms around the corner, we have to take into consideration our furry family members. We are a social breed and, as such, we love to have things out for any visitors that pop in for a Christmas drink or two. While we know what we can eat, our furry ones do not know the difference between what is safe and what is not. So it is up to us to make sure they cannot get access to anything that they should not eat.
Dangers do not only come in food form, there is also the change in routine and there can often be more people in the home. This can cause some distress when they are used to normally only sharing their space with you and maybe one other.
With this in mind, you need to try to keep one area where they can remain quiet, somewhere that they can sleep if they wish to. We also have to think about the decorations. While they look nice and seasonal, the decorations on the tree can often pose a danger if they fall off and break. Nosey furry ones love to examine anything that may be on the floor – the floor that is normally their domain.
Christmas time should be full of seasonal happiness but it is also a time when accidents can happen in the home.
Possible dangers for dogs:
▪ Chocolate, raisins, grapes, alcohol and some nuts – all poisonous to dogs.
▪ Poinsettia, mistletoe, holly and ivy – extremely toxic for dogs.
▪ Turkey bones – very dangerous, fracture easily and can cause choking and internal damage.
▪ The tree – sap from a real tree is toxic, as are any fluids put at the base to preserve it. Artificial trees are not digestible, artificial material releases toxin in the gut and can cause a blockage. Dangly things to tug, wires to chew, or just something to pee on.
▪ Ribbons, tape, string and packaging will tangle in the intestine if eaten.
▪ Baubles – a tempting play thing but easily break into fragments which can cause external and internal laceration.
▪ A busy house/kitchen – exciting but your dog may become hyperactive and may need excluding for his (and guests’) safety. Think about carrying large roasting pans from the oven to the worktop, boiling water, hot fats ... all can and will cause serious burns if they get splashed or spilt on your pets.
▪ Crackers and poppers – loud noises can frighten dogs and small parts released can be eaten.
▪ Visitors/children – may be frightening to some dogs and again exclusion may be needed. It is much better to put them in another room, as the fear caused could take months if not years to overcome. Again prevention is much better than cure.
▪ And after all that, there are the rubbish bags to raid! Make sure they are put in the bins, or if this is not possible, then it may be better to put them into an outbuilding until the next rubbish run is due.
Just give them a lovely present of something that they can chew on.
Remember, if you suspect your furry one may have got hold of something potentially dangerous, just phone your vet, be clear and tell them exactly what your dog has eaten, and if possible the amounts and the time that has passed since they ate them.It is much better to be safe than sorry.
Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Until next year, wags tails and best wishes.
By Sue Ogden
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Sue Ogden is a professional dog groomer living in the Algarve. In her regular column, she provides readers with information on how best to care for their pets. Trained in the UK, she studied nursing, breeding, grooming, nutrition and kennel management. [email protected]