The holidays are about family, friends, and food and are a joyous time of year for many people. Unfortunately, it’s also a top time of the year for visits to the emergency vet because people missed these holiday hazards in their home. Sometimes bad things happen to good pets, but there are some steps you can take to help keep your fur children safe this holiday season. Here are the top 3 categories of hidden health hazards so that you can be better prepared to prevent disasters from striking.
#1 – Decorations
Christmas trees in particular can be dangerous. If they aren’t secured to the wall, they can tip over and fall onto an unsuspecting dog. The water for a live tree may contain fertilizers or other toxins which can poison your dog if he drinks the water out of the stand (or if it spills when the tree gets jostled). Even if it doesn’t contain toxins, stagnant tree water may become a bacteria breeding pool. Mistletoe, holly, lilies, and other live plants may be toxic for your dog if eaten. (Here’s a searchable list of toxic plants.) Wires, batteries, and ornaments can all be dangerous if chewed on, and unattended candles can be knocked over by a careless pet and start a house fire. All in all, it’s a good idea to carefully consider each of your holiday decorations and think about how they could be harmful to your pet and what you can do to reduce the chances of your dog being harmed.
#2 – Food and drink
While it’s always a good idea to keep human food and drinks away from your dog, the holidays are a perfect storm of food that’s even more enticing, strangers who might be more likely to share their food with your dog, and the fun everybody is having making it easier for your dog to sneak into food and drink they shouldn’t have without being noticed. Ways to protect your dog include making sure your garbage can has a secure lid, keeping your dog away from the kitchen while preparing food, and cautioning your guests not to share with your dog. If there’s a chance any food or alcoholic beverages will be unattended at any point, it might be best to keep your dog in another room so they aren’t being forced to deny the temptation of getting into it.
#3 – People
Even the most dog-friendly of guests can accidentally become a problem for your dog. Make sure any house guests keep their medications secure in a place where your dog can’t ingest them. Let people know when it’s okay to interact with your dog and when it looks like he’s had enough. Try to make sure your dog always has a quiet place they can go to escape from the hubbub if they’re feeling overwhelmed. Even the friendliest of dogs can be disturbed by having so many strangers in their home.
We at iHeartDogs hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday season!