Christmas is always a wonderful season to spend time with family and friends. For many of us, that includes our beloved pets. But let’s remember to keep our pets safe during the holidays. Christmas safety for dogs is very important if we want to have an enjoyable holiday season. No one wants a Christmas that includes a sick pup or an emergency trip to the vet!
Most Christmas trees are safe for dogs.
They are usually non-toxic (fir, spruce, & pine, at least), so they are fine to have in your home during the holidays. But all those pine needles are really sharp and can get stuck in your dog’s paws or even their throat! Make sure to clean up the loose needles as often as you can and make sure your dog doesn’t chew on them. Anchor your tree well so your dog can’t accidentally knock it over, or that could spell disaster for the holidays!
But, watch out for toxic holiday plants!
Christmas trees may be nontoxic, but not all holiday plants are. Poinsettia gets a bad rap, but in reality is only mildly toxic, but not usually lethal (but still, keep it away from your pup if possible!). Mistletoe is poisonous to dogs, and some lilies are toxic to cats (and also not great for dogs). If you’re going to deck the halls with boughs of holly, make sure they’re high enough that your dog can’t reach them. The Holly berries are toxic and the pointed leaves can hurt your pups mouth or paws. (For a refresher on which human foods are toxic to dogs, click here.)
Decorate with Christmas safety for dogs in mind.
Try to stick to decorations that are larger and not breakable. That way your dog won’t choke on them or the pieces even if they do accidentally chew on them. Make sure to properly hang tinsel and store ribbon well out of the reach of your pets. If your dog does eat tinsel or ribbon, it could get stuck in their intestines, resulting in a trip to the vet for sure.
Be extra careful with lights and electrical cords.
With all the lights being hung during the holidays, a big part of Christmas safety for dogs is keeping them away from wires. Your pet might chew them and electrocute themselves, so it’s really important to be extra careful with wires and plugs. Get rid of any older wires that might be frayed and pose more of a risk to your pet. Keep cords and wires protects and out of your pet’s reach, especially when plugged in! And don’t forget about any electrical wires you might have in the yard for outside lights or inflatables.
Christmas safety for dogs includes helping your pet avoid too much stress.
The Christmas season is full of joy and love, but can also be stressful for us humans as well as our pets. Loud noises like fireworks and champagne bottles can cause your dog to panic. Even the calmest dog might become anxious when their normally quiet home is full of strangers for a Christmas party. And if you plan to take your pet with you when you travel, make sure you have the proper crate to keep them safe during transport. Look up emergency vet contacts for your destination (just in case!) and don’t overfeed your dog before long car or plane rides.
Choose safe Christmas gifts for dogs.
Always buy your doggie gifts from well known and reputable pet shops – or even better, from the vet’s office. Cheap dog toys may seem like a good idea, but your friends won’t be happy if their dog accidentally swallows part of their Christmas gift! If you’re giving dog treats as gifts, make sure they are well made with the best ingredients. You never know which dogs have food allergens or sensitivities to additives or low quality ingredients.
Most importantly, remember that a pet is FOR LIFE, so never give puppies or dogs (or any pet, really) as a surprise.
Make sure that if you do plan to give a dog as a Christmas gift, that you talk to the future owner and find out what kind of dog might suit their life and personality. Find out if they have the time and money to train and take care of a new pet, and if that’s a commitment they actually want to make. It’s extremely traumatic for both dogs and owners when the situation doesn’t work out. You don’t want to put responsibility that on your friend or significant other without having a serious conversation about it first.