Don’t Forget Pet Safety During This Year’s Holiday Festivities

The house is filled with the scent of roasting turkey, while fresh baked cookies wait to be eaten.  The tree is decked with lights and ornaments, and the soft glow from the fireplace lights the room with a magical charm.  It’s that time of the year again — when friends and family gather together to enjoy food and companionship as we share the spirit of the season.

For many families, this companionship extends to their four-legged friends.  However, celebrating the holidays with our dogs means we should take a few extra precautions.  Here are some tips from Frisky Dog to help keep your canine companions healthy during this holiday season.


Serious Hazards


  • Ø Chocolate: Humans may love to celebrate the season by indulging on chocolate, but consumption of chocolate by dogs can cause a variety of health problems, ranging from diarrhea and vomiting to seizures to death.  All types of chocolate are hazardous to dogs, but the most toxic types of chocolate (in order from least hazardous to most hazardous) are milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate and baking chocolate.  Unfortunately, dogs can sniff out chocolate even when it is hidden, so it makes this treat especially dangerous.  ALWAYS consult your veterinarian if you suspect your dog has eaten any kind of chocolate.
  • Ø Sugar-Free Goodies:  Although humans who are watching their waistline may indulge in diet treats, any sugar-free foods containing xylitol pose a serious health threat to dogs.   Symptoms include vomiting and seizures and this toxicity can lead to permanent liver damage.


Moderate Hazards

  • Ø Christmas cactus and English holly: Beautiful to look at for the holidays, these plants can cause serious GI upset.   According to many veterinarians, keep these plants out of the reach of your dog.
  • Ø Fruitcake: Some people love it, some people hate it, but fruitcake contains two elements that can be dangerous to dogs:  raisins and alcohol.  Acute toxicity of raisins can lead to kidney failure in dogs.  This “treat” is best kept for humans.
  • Ø Poinsettias: According to the veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline, poinsettia plants (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are only “mildly toxic” to dogs and cats.  Only mild irritation of the mouth, stomach, or skin is to be expected — and only if direct contact or ingestion of this substance occurs — which is rare.
  • Ø Mistletoe: Celebrated as the “kissing” plant, ingestion of mistletoe can cause irritation and indigestion, similar to the poinsettia plant.  Mistletoe is okay for the holidays, especially if it is kept hanging.


Slight Hazards


  • Ø Christmas Tree Lights:  Although dogs can be attracted to blinking lights and can get caught up in cords, owners can easily control this issue by keeping cords wrapped tightly and minimizing the amount of electrical cords on the tree.  Turn off lights when leaving the house and always monitor your pet around the tree.
  • Ø Ornaments:  For households with dogs and puppies, owners can prevent accidental breakage, cuts and scrapes or ingestion of glass ornaments by hanging them at the top of the tree.



Hopefully these tips will help your holiday season stay safe and happy!!!