Christmas Dangers for Dogs


Christmas Dangers for Dogs

Christmas is an amazing time that is full of joy, happiness, spending time with loved ones, eating great food and relaxing. It is also a fun time for your dog as they get to spend their whole day with their owners who they love.

However, whilst you are enjoying yourself, take time to ensure you are keeping your dog safe during the Christmas celebrations. There are many things associated with Christmas which can potentially dangers to dogs. Some of the dangers are relatively obvious, whilst others are things can be easily overlooked but end up causing your pet harm. Here is a list of some of the top dangers for dogs that you should avoid this Christmas.

Food & Drink

Dogs love their food and they will try and eat everything, always make sure your dog is supervised when food is around to avoid them eating something that could cause them serious damage. Here are some of the foods you should look out for:

Chocolate – chocolate contains bromine, which is a stimulant similar to caffeine and is poisonous to dogs
Mince Pies – raisins, sultanas and currants are commonly found in mince pies and Christmas puddings are toxic to dogs
Onions – The Allium family comprises of onions, leeks, shallots and chives, all of which could cause stomach irritation for your dog. Also be considerate of other foods which may contain these ingredients such as stuffing and keep it out of reach of your dog
Cooked Bones – Cooked meat bones become extremely brittle and can easily splinter which can cause internal damage if swallowed. Dispose of all bones immediately and never leave you dog alone with leftover meat
Blue Cheese – Blue Cheese is a common thing to see around Christmas time but it contains Roquefortine C which is a substance dogs are sensitive to
Alcohol – Alcohol is toxic to dogs and can lead to diarrhoea, vomiting and difficulty breathing. Always make sure your drinks are not left alone anywhere the dog can reach. Also, make sure all spillages are cleaned up straight away
Presents
Small Toys – this is especially a risk if you have small children in your family. All the toys will look like something the dog will want to play with so ensure you monitor the opening of presents
Batteries – Although it’s not extremely common, it has been known for dogs to try or successfully eat batteries, which can cause chemical burns and metal poisoning. Never leave batteries or battery-operated toys alone near the dog
Wrapping paper – Playing with the wrapping paper will make many dogs extremely happy and while it isn’t a huge risk in very small amounts, make sure they don’t have too much.

Decorations
One of the best parts of Christmas is getting your house feeling all festive with plenty of decorations. But before you start decking those halls, check you are creating a safe environment for your dog.

• Christmas Tree – Pine needles on real Christmas trees can cause stomach upsets. If you opt for a real tree, ensure you vacuum the area around your tree daily and keep it regularly watered. Alternatively, choose to buy an artificial tree
• Fairy Lights – Tape wires to the floor and cover any exposing cables as dogs might try and chew them, which could lead to an electric shock
• Baubles – Opt for shatterproof baubles to avoid breakages, which could be very harmful if eaten by your dog
• Tinsel – Be wary of the tinsel as the small strands can easily be eaten by dogs and can be a choking hazard as well as cause stomach damage
• Handmade ornaments – making ornaments is great, however, be considerate of what you use. Salt dough ornaments for example could cause vomiting, diarrhoea or even seizures if eaten due to the high salt content

Plants

Plants are a popular gift from visitors during the festive period. Although a lot of flowers are fine around dogs, some are potentially harmful.
• Poinsettia, Mistletoe & Ivy – All of these are mildly toxic so ensure they are kept out of reach of your dog
• Lilies – These flowers are common in Christmas festive floral displays. However, they are extremely dangerous to dogs if they are ingested and can even be fatal in the worst-case scenario. Choose roses and other dog-friendly flowers instead.

Although Christmas is meant to be the most wonderful time of the year, it can be one of the most dangerous times for our pets because of all the changes in their environment during the build-up to Christmas. If you are concerned about your dog during Christmas time and believe that they have been exposed to the risks above, then seek veterinary help immediately. The dangers range in severity, always ensure you are aware of the potential risks so that you can all enjoy an amazing family Christmas with your dog.

For advice on dog care, training, behaviour therapy and more, please visit our articles page which is full of free advice.

About the author

Dr Shahad Mohammed
Veterinary Physiotherapist
National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists