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Holiday Safety For Your Dogs

Three dogs dressed in holiday attire.

Holiday Safety For Your Dogs

The holiday season is a time of joy and celebration, but it’s important to remember that our beloved four-legged companions may face certain hazards amidst the festivities. 

Dogs, in particular, are curious creatures who may inadvertently come into contact with potentially harmful substances, such as Poinsettia plants and Christmas tree water. 

This blog post will explore holiday safety for your dogs. 

Poinsettia: A Beautiful Plant, But Not for Dogs:

Poinsettias, native to Central America and Mexico, were once cultivated by the Aztecs for traditional medicine. They are now considered the most economically crucial potted plant and the most popular holiday decoration. 

Recognized by their vibrant red leaves, they are also known by their many names, including:

  • Christmas Flower
  • Easter Flower
  • Etoile de Noel
  • Euphorbia Poinsettia
  • Euphorbia Pulcherrima
  • Fleur Pentecote
  • Flor de Pascua
  • Lobster Flower Plant
  • Flower Plant
  • Lobster Flower
  • Mexican Flame Leaf
  • Noche Buena
  • Painted Leaf
  • Papagallo
  • Poinsettia Pulcherrima
  • Pastora
  • Flower of the Holy Night
  • Flower of Christmas Eve

While they add a festive touch to our homes, it’s important to remember that Poinsettias can be toxic to dogs if ingested. 

Although not fatal if eaten, the milky sap within the leaves contains chemicals that can cause mild to moderate gastrointestinal distress, such as vomiting and diarrhea. 

Signs that your dog has Poinsettia Poisoning include:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Licking lips repeatedly
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Red, itchy, watery eyes
  • General signs of discomfort

To keep your dog safe, avoid bringing Poinsettias into your home or ensure they are stored out of harm’s way. 

Beware of Christmas Tree Water:

The water in the base of your Christmas tree may seem harmless, but it can pose a significant risk to your dog’s health. 

This water often contains preservatives, pesticides, and fertilizers that can be toxic if consumed. 

Cover the tree base with a tree skirt or use a tree stand with a covered water reservoir to prevent mishaps. This will prevent your dog from accessing the potentially harmful water and keep them safe.

Secure the Christmas Tree:

While your dog may be curious about the sparkling ornaments and dangling lights, ensuring the Christmas tree is secured correctly is crucial. 

A tree that isn’t stable can topple over if your dog decides to investigate or accidentally bumps into it. Use a sturdy tree stand and consider attaching it to a wall or using tension rods to keep it in place. This precaution will prevent any potential injuries caused by falling trees.

Tips To Dog-Proof Your Christmas Tree:

  • Anchor Your Tree
  • Keep Tree Bare At First
  • Secure Or Hide Electrical Cords
  • No Food On The Tree
  • Placement Of The Ornaments Is Key
  • Skip Toxic Ornaments 
  • Place A Dog Proof Gate Around Your Tree
  • Don’t Make Presents Assessable 

Avoid Decorative Hazards:

Some typical holiday decorations, such as tinsel, ribbons, and small ornaments, can pose a choking hazard to dogs. These shiny objects may catch your dog’s attention, but if ingested, they can cause intestinal blockages, which may require surgical intervention. 

Keep these decorations out of your dog’s reach, or opt for pet-friendly ornaments made of non-toxic materials. Additionally, be cautious with electrical cords, ensuring they are hidden or secured to prevent your dog from getting tangled up or chewing on them. 

Other Hazards:

Other hazards can include fire hazards such as candles. Supervise your dogs around them when lighting candles so they don’t get knocked over. 

And we must remember all the delicious food that will likely be around. Be sure to keep harmful foods out of reach and not be tempted by offering even the slightest taste—foods such as the list below present gut dangers, including upset stomachs, vomiting, diarrhea, and more.

  • Turkey bones, skin, and gravy
  • Yeast Dough
  • Desserts that contain chocolate or Xylitol
  • Onions, grapes, or raisins
  • Garlic and most spices

If you suspect your dog has gotten into anything harmful this holiday, bring them to your veterinarian immediately or contact ASPCA Poison Control at (888) 426-4435.

Nicole Packin UW-AAB, SAMP, CCWT, CCFT

Nicole founded The Packin Method with the mission to better the mental, emotional, and physical health of dogs by providing Treadmill Workouts, Canine Massage Therapy, and Bodywork. In addition, offering canine fitness education to pet parents and the community to help balance their pets' lives.

Nicole Packin UW-AAB, SAMP, CCWT, CCFT

Nicole founded The Packin Method with the mission to better the mental, emotional, and physical health of dogs by providing Treadmill Workouts, Canine Massage Therapy, and Bodywork. In addition, offering canine fitness education to pet parents and the community to help balance their pets' lives.

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