Dogs get just as excited about the holidays as we do. There are new smells, visitors, food and much more to stimulate them.
But be aware that all those holiday decorations in your house can get your pooch into some serious trouble.
We want you and your dog to enjoy a stress-free, healthy holiday season, so here’s the 4 (Paws)-1-1 on the decor you should keep our of your dog’s reach.
1. Holiday Lights
No holiday celebration is complete without the added beauty of sparkling lights. But to your pooch, hanging lights and cords on the floor are begging to be chewed, resulting in your dog possibly being electrocuted.
According to Dog First-Aid 101, “Electrical cords present a life-threatening danger to your dog. If he likes to chew, and especially if he likes to chew anything that resembles an electrical cord (like his leash or a rope), he is at risk of electrocution.”
Try to discourage your dog from chewing the cords by keeping them hidden and off the floor. When you’re not at home, unplug them and put them somewhere safe.
Ornaments, which look like balls to a dog, are extra inviting, but they can also be dangerous, especially glass ones that may shatter. Be sure to keep them out of your dog’s reach.
2. Wrapping Paper, Bows and Ribbons
Dogs love to tear open presents, especially if they smell something yummy inside. But VCA Animal Hospitals warns that if eaten, wrapping paper, ribbons, string and bows can cause an intestinal obstruction. Puppies are particularly susceptible because they like to chew anything they can put into their mouths.
“As the intestines attempt to move this mass of foreign material (called a ‘linear foreign body’ due to its shape), the rough or abrasive material rubs against the walls of the intestine, causing inflammation and damage with each intestinal contraction,” VCA states. “An intestinal obstruction is a life-threatening emergency requiring surgery for correction.”
“Even momentary contact between a lit candle and your dog’s fur can set him on fire, leading to life-threatening burns,” according to i Love Dogs’ Ask a Vet, Dr. Patrick Mahaney. “Besides the pain and suffering burned pets must endure, your entire family may be at risk if a pet knocks a candle over and causes combustion of flammable household materials.”
Dr. Mahaney also noted that scented candles “emit appealing aromas and may cause gastrointestinal abnormalities if consumed.”
4. Holiday Plants and Trees
Many holiday plants are potentially toxic to your dog.
“Despite general public perception, the poinsettia is a traditional holiday plant that is only mildly toxic to pets when consumed,” said Dr. Mahaney. “The poinsettia contains a sap that causes local irritation to the mouth and gastrointestinal tract when ingested, potentially causing salivation or vomiting.”
Pine, spruce and fir trees – and the water in their stands – can lead to toxic reactions in your dog. Dr. Mahaney warned, “Christmas tree needles contain oils and resins potentially causing salivation and digestive upset. Consumption of tree water can cause gastrointestinal problems or organ failure caused by fertilizers, bacteria or molds.”