Holidays and Your Dog

No matter what the holiday season, holidays and your dog can add a lot of special considerations and needs, aggravations and stress to think about in advance to your otherwise regular schedule. Whether it's the varied potential dangers of fireworks or Halloween candy, Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas tinsel, or the added emotional stress of a busy holiday season on your dog, do your best to make sure your pets are safe and well cared for!

Did you know that many holiday decorations can be hazardous to your pets? Below we'll list several potentially dangerous holiday objects for you - just as a reminder of things to be aware of this upcoming holiday season.

GSDs celebrating Christmas

Holidays and Your Dog -
Things to Avoid

• Chocolate - Just about everyone has heard about the dangers of chocolate but do you know why it is dangerous to pets? It contains the chemical theobromine, which can lead to arrhythmia, tremors and seizures in your dog. As little as 4-5 ounces can be toxic to dogs or cats.

• Food dangers - Anything that is very rich, fatty or spicy can potentially cause intestinal upset for your dog. It is possible that a fatty treat could trigger a serious inflammation of the pancreas or intestine which is potentially fatal.

• The Christmas tree - If you have a live tree and add preservatives to your tree water and your dog drinks from it then he could suffer from vomiting and diarrhea.

• Tinsel and ribbon - If your dog were to chew on any of these decorative ribbons those strands could ball up in the dogs GI tract, possibly requiring surgery.

• Foreign-body ingestion - Cooked poultry bones are never a good idea no matter how much your dog begs. These bones are highly prone to splintering, which in turn sends shards of bone through the dogs intestines. One pierce in the intestinal lining can lead to deadly peritonitis.

• Ornaments - These strange and wildly colored and shaped objects can be quite fascinating to your dog. All the smells, shapes and odd textures, they're certainly not good in the mouth, or the stomach, of any curious pet.

Additionally, twinkling lights are no good for chewing, and the whole tree could easily come down on a dog who bumps it or tugs on any of the low hanging ornaments or branches.

• Holiday plants - If your dog were to eat part of a poinsettia plant then he would probably get an upset tummy. Mistletoe and holly are other holiday plants to keep your dog away from. The berries and leaves of these plants are toxic and small amounts can cause depression in your pet. The bulbs of the amaryllis plant are poisonous as well, just so you'll know.

The final part related to holidays and your dog, and probably one of the most important parts of preventive care, is knowing what to do in case of an emergency.

Do you know where to take your dog when your regular veterinary hospital is closed for a holidays? Do you have those emergency veterinary care phone numbers?

Take a few minutes now to make sure you have the numbers, just in case, and to post them in an easy to remember area to make the holidays and your dog as festive and safe as absolutely possible. This simple preventative measure may well be the difference between your dog living and dying in the event of a holiday season related emergency. Here's to great holidays with your dog that are happy, healthy and safe. We hope that your Holidays and Your Dog are the best ones ever!

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"A man bitten by a dog, whether the animal is mad or not, is apt to get mad himself." - George D. Prentice