Christmas is fast approaching and many of us already have trees and decorations up ready. Despite the Christmas fun there are a few things we need to remember to make things safe for our furry friends. Trees, bauble, tinsels and delicious treats can all be fun but can also be hazards for our pets.
Here are 10 tips for creating a dog friendly home this Christmas:
- Keep presents out of paws reach – Dogs can be monsters of destruction, and an array of new children’s toys left on the floor can be overly tempting for pups to chew on. Small parts can be harmful if chewed or swallowed. Don’t forget to keep any food related gifts high out of reach and if your dog is likely to chew in general, you should supervise at all times and you may consider moving presents into another room.
- Gift wrapping – Crinkly paper, flowing ribbons and sticky tape can all seem like a fun game to our pups, however these should be picked up and hidden away. If eaten they can cause serious blockages and if chewed will ruin your gifts. Swallowing tinsel, ribbons or any other material can result in an obstructed digestive tract, often needing emergency surgery.
- Dangerous human foods – Sweets, Christmas pudding, chocolate, raisins are all commonly eaten at Christmas. It is best to ask any guests to watch what they drop, and not feed the dog. Other food such as onions and garlic are also dangerous to dogs, these are commonly used in our cooking such as gravy (which is also high in salt) so be mindful of the leftovers you share!
- Festive plants – Mistletoe, Holly and Poinsettias are naturally toxic to dogs and cats. Plus, they are often preserved with chemicals to last the holiday season. Even the Christmas tree is a potential hazard; if eaten they can cause tummy upsets, irritation and blockages.
- Christmas decorations – Try to keep decorations out of reach, towards the top of the tree or block off their access to ground level decorations. Noisy decorations such as bells are better towards the top of the tree and they can be very enticing, also avoid hanging decorations where your dog will jump up to investigate as this can lead to scratches on the wall or furniture. Keep these out of dogs reach. Baubles may look like a sparkly tennis ball, but if you pup happens to smash one it could lead to cut paws and mouths! If you add festive chocolates to your Christmas tree, make sure to place them high up so that dogs cannot be tempted to pinch them before you do.
- Batteries are extremely dangerous – if punctured they can lead to chemical burns and poisoning. You should keep these locked up until needed and keep watch when putting toys together.
- Watch out for the door – Many households have lots of relatives coming and going throughout the day, often letting themselves in and out. Be careful to keep dogs away from entrances as they can easily dash out unnoticed and while guests are expected it is a good idea to keep a collar on with up to date information just in case (microchips must be kept up to date).
- Fire hazards – Candles should be kept out of reach and out of the way of tails as can be easily knocked off surfaces or cause burnt noses!
- Wires and cords – Trees and decorations often require a power source, which means cables everywhere! Covering them or keeping a watchful eye can reduce the risk of chewing and electric shocks.
- Create a dog friendly space – This busy time can be very overwhelming for our pets. By ensuring they have a quiet spot in the house to escape to; overtired and overexcited pups can have some chill time on their own. Certain rooms such as the kitchen are probably best being out of bounds to dogs, hot dishes and food mixed with persistent pups may not end well.
Have a wonderful Christmas!