holiday season is a wonderful and joyful time of
year filled with family, friends, food, festivities and
lots of fun.
With a little extra
consideration and care, the holiday season can be
enjoyable for you, your friends and family AND safe for
your dog, too.
your Pet IQ -- Spot the Holiday Hazards
Without a doubt, food is
the #1 holiday hazard for dogs. Even though we enjoy cookies,
chocolate and eggnog, none of these treats are healthy for your
dog. Rich, fatty foods can upset a dog's gastrointestinal tract and
can cause pancreatitis resulting in pain, diarrhea, vomiting and
dehydration. This condition often requires hospitalization for
Never give a Westie
turkey, chicken or rib bones as treats. They can splinter and
cause serious injury. Kong toys and hardened sterilized bones
are better alternatives.
And chocolate is not a
treat for dogs. Chocolate contains theobromine, a substance
similar to caffeine, that is a powerful stimulant toxic to pets.
In general, the less sweet the chocolate, the more toxic it could be.
For example, unsweetened baking chocolate contains about 7 times more
theobromine as milk chocolate.
Onions can be toxic to
dogs causing anemia. Coffee and tea can cause nervous system or
urinary system damage as well as heart muscle stimulation.
Do not let your pet in the
kitchen unsupervised when you are baking during the holidays. According
to Jill A. Richardson, DVM, of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center
(APCC), when bread dough is ingested, an animal's body heat causes the
dough to rise in the stomach. As alcohol is produced during the rising
process, the dough expands. Pets who have eaten bread dough may experience
abdominal pain, bloat, vomiting, disorientation and depression. The
pet may need to be treated for alcohol toxicosis and the dough may
need to be surgically removed from the pet's stomach.
Clean up glasses after
holiday parties. Pets are often attracted by the sweet taste of
drinks especially eggnog. Alcohol even in small amounts can be
toxic to dogs.
Keep aluminum foil and
cellophane candy wrappers away from pets as these could cause
intestinal blockage. We have also been told of dogs suffocating
from food bags such as potato chip bags.
To be safe, put away all food and drinks immediately,
remove all food containers and
pet-proof your garbage.
Poisoning in Dogs
Bones Spell Trouble for Pets
plants, while pretty and festive, can be dangerous to your
dog. Holly berries and mistletoe can be dangerous to pets! If
ingested, any one of these plants can cause an upset
stomach. Additionally, holly can be potentially fatal
to dogs and mistletoe can cause heart collapse. Keep
these plants out of reach of your pets or use artificial
considered to be low in toxicity, however, they could
cause vomiting or nausea if ingested by your pet.
needles, either live or artificial, are toxic, sharp and
indigestible causing stomach irritation. Never leave
your dog unattended in the room with the Christmas tree. Tree
preservatives can be toxic and the water in the tree stand
often harbors potentially harmful bacteria.
In the event of
an emergency, contact the
Animal Poison Control Center on the 24-hour Hotline:
Be aware that
small Christmas tree ornaments can be swallowed. Avoid
using glass ornaments as they break easily and may injure
your dog's feet and mouth.
lights from lower branches of your Christmas tree.
They may get very hot and burn your dog. Watch out for
electrical cords. Chewing on electrical cords can
cause serious problems ranging from burned mouths to
electrocution. Use Pet-Proof Extension cords or spray
cords with Bitter Apple to prevent your dog from chewing.
Unplug decorative lights when you are not in the room to
supervise your dog.
using edible ornaments. Your dog may think your candy
canes and gingerbread men are tasty treats and may knock
over the tree in an attempt to eat the goodies. Make
sure the Christmas tree is in a stable and secure stand
foil, angel hair, flocking, artificial snow, ribbons, yarn, paper, plastic packaging and
string as well as popcorn or cranberry garlands can cause
intestinal obstruction. This condition will often
require surgery and may be fatal.
contains oils that can be toxic to pets if eaten.
cause burns and fires. Candles should be placed on
high shelves. Never leave lighted candles unattended
or within reach of your pet.
gifts for your dogs to make sure they are safe. Items
such as soft plastic or vinyl toys and small rawhide chew
toys can be dangerous to your dog. While rawhide chew
toys may help remove plaque, small pieces of swallowed
rawhide can cause a respiratory or intestinal obstruction.
We do not recommend giving Westies rawhide chew toys, pig
ears or hooves. Kong toys and hardened sterilized
bones are better alternatives.
children's toys after they are opened. Small toys or
batteries for toys can be toxic and cause intestinal
Be very careful
with gifts of perfume and after-shave lotion under the tree.
These products contain ethanol (alcohol) and perfume also
contains essential oils which be very toxic to pets.
the Right Toys for Your Dog
Holiday parties are a
wonderful way to spend time with friends and to relax and enjoy
the season. However, not every guest, especially very young
children, may be familiar with dogs and their habits. Guests
may inadvertently step on your dog's tail and young children may
unintentionally tease your dog as well.
If you have a party,
you may want to consider confining your dog securely in one area
of the house to prevent him from escaping out an open door and
running away. You could place your dog in a bedroom and post
a sign on the door asking guests not to enter that room.
Sometimes boarding a pet is the safest alternative.
With all the
festivities, the holiday season is a stressful time for dogs.
Try to keep a normal feeding and exercise schedule to reduce your
dog's stress. And don't forget to relax and spend some
quality time with your dog.