Christmas is a fun time for the whole family, including our much loved pups and dogs. It is important to remember, however, that there are a number of hazards associated with Christmas, including the presence of foods that are extremely dangerous for dogs and the consumption of foreign bodies, for example Christmas decorations.
Here are some tips to help you through the holiday season.
Try to set up your Christmas Tree in a room where your pup does not have access, or place a playpen or barrier around the tree to prevent your dog accessing the tree, decorations and presents.
Tinsel and other garland materials can be a choking hazard, so keep it well away from your pup. Also be aware that glass ornaments will do considerable damage to a pup’s mouth and digestive tract if chewed.
Christmas cake is especially dangerous to dogs as it contains sultanas, currents and raisins. Grapes and grape products are highly toxic to dogs. Should your pup eat ANY sultanas, or products containing dried or fresh grapes please contact a veterinarian right away.
Chocolate is another toxic food that is often more present in a household at Christmas time. The compound in chocolate that is toxic to dogs is theobromine. Theobromine acts on a dog’s nervous system, heart muscle and renal system. The early (mild) symptoms of chocolate toxicity include vomiting, diarrhoea and hyperactivity. Depending on the amount of chocolate consumed these symptoms progress to increased heart rate, restlessness, muscle twitching, panting, whimpering and increased urination and water consumption. Severe toxicity leads to shock, seizures, coma and death. Please note, it is important that a vet induce vomiting within two hours of chocolate consumption.
Other dangerous foods include: cooked bones, alcohol, onion/garlic, macadamia nuts, avocados, cherries, sugar, salty foods and foods high in fat.
When entertaining, keeping your pup/dog next to you on a leash can help prevent food being stolen from the table. Educating your guests will also help to minimise the risk of your dog ingesting something it shouldn’t.
Above all else, we wish you all a safe and happy Christmas!