Summary: Even though Christmas is mostly a colourful and happy time of the year, there are a number of new dangers and hazards that pop-up during these celebrations, the best way to prevent them is to know about them, so this blog post lists the 10 main culprits so you can keep it a merry and joyful celebration for your family and pets too. Find out the top 10 tips to dog-proof your Christmas.
Of course, Christmas is a time of celebration, love, overeating, and lots of family-fun. Our family pets, as you know, are also part of our family and will actively participate in all the fun too, so let’s prevent any potential hazards, this can be either foods or decorative plants, electrical dangers and more.
Here’s our list of the Top 10 hazards and dangers a dog-parent should consider during Christmas:
1. Chocolate and cocoa
Chocolate and cocoa’s toxicity levels will depend on just how much is consumed, how much your dog weighs and the kind of chocolate that was eaten. Theobromine, the hazardous molecule in chocolate, is metabolized extremely slowly in cats and dogs, and this, in turn, lets it build up to toxic levels in their system. Bakery, dark chocolate, and cocoa have important levels of theobromine, while white chocolate and milk chocolate have lower levels.
Smaller portions might lead to moderate gastrointestinal issues like throwing up or diarrhea. Big quantities can produce hyperactivity, followed by trembling, arrhythmia, seizures, internal bleeding, or perhaps even cardiac arrest. Under 30 grams of dark chocolate can be enough to intoxicate a 20 kg dog.
If your dog has actually eaten chocolate, call your vet right away, and do not for any signs to appear. Try to figure out what type of chocolate your dog has consumed, that will help your veterinarian during diagnostics.
2. Grapes and raisins
When dogs consume grapes or raisins, the most extreme illness can be kidney failure. Some of the most common symptoms include loss of appetite, weakness, and stillness, throwing up and diarrhea, stomach discomfort, thirst, and dehydration.
Lots of Christmas dishes include raisins and grapes, which can be toxic to dogs. Studies still haven’t determined the compound in the fruit that triggers this serious response, so even peeled and seedless grapes ought to be avoided. Because there is no specific guidance as to how much is actually safe, please don’t give your dogs any grapes or raisins whatsoever.
If you believe your dog has consumed any amount of grapes or raisins, it is very important to get treatment. Contact your trusted veterinarian as soon as possible.
3. Macadamia nuts
Macadamia nuts and dogs don’t mix well. All macadamia nuts build up cyanogenic glycoside (proteacin and durrin) in their seeds. Even a small amount can make a dog ill.
Signs consist of weakness in the posterior extremities, throwing up, and diarrhea. Serious signs included trembling or fever and require immediate medical attention.
Another aspect to take into account is that macadamia nuts are a fatty treat, intake might lead to pancreatitis, a painful inflammation of the pancreas.
If your dog throws up, loses their appetite, has stomach pain, or displays a lowered activity level after eating macadamia nuts, call your vet right away for the right advice.
4. Onions, garlic and more
Consumption can lead to hemolytic anemia, which results from red blood cell damage.
The main symptoms include weakness, sleepiness, decreased hunger and pale-coloured gums. You might likewise see throwing up, panting, and high heart rate. If your dog has eaten onion, leeks, chives, or garlic and any of these signs appear, call your vet right away.
Onions and garlic, chives and leeks have a compound that is harmful to dogs called n-propyl disulphide that can harm red blood cells.
Unlike grapes discussed above, where even a small amount can be poisonous, when it comes to onions and garlic, the quantity your dog has eaten matters. Generally, if your dog eats a small amount nothing will happen, however similar to with chocolate, it’ll depend on your dog’s body weight. As with chocolate, the toxic substance accumulates in the system, so continued ingestion will gradually make the symptoms worse.
In most cases, alcohol is not much of an issue as dogs tend not to like the taste of these drinks. Nevertheless, do take care when it comes to cocktails or alcohol-based foods because the taste may be more attractive for your dog.
Alcohol intoxication in dogs depends on concentration. Dogs are smaller sized than us human beings, so the quantity of alcohol (ethanol) they consume will have much more of an effect on them.
Symptoms of alcohol toxicity in dogs include anxiety and sleepiness, disorientation, coordination issues, throwing up and retching, increased thirst, drooling, weakness, collapse, sluggish breathing, low blood glucose, high blood pressure and fever.
If you believe your family pet has consumed a considerable amount of alcohol or is showing concerning symptoms, call your veterinarian for guidance.
6. Xylitol (artificial sweetener)
Some sugar-free items include xylitol, an artificial sweetener known as sugar alcohol. It can be found in a wide variety of items, breath mints, baked products, mouthwash, toothpaste, cough syrup, chewable vitamins, dietary supplements, sugar-free desserts, sweets, and chocolate bars (double-whammy).
In dogs, xylitol produces a powerful release of insulin. This in turn generates a quick and strong drop in blood sugar level (hypoglycemia), this happens in 10 to 60 minutes after xylitol intake. If left without treatment, hypoglycemia can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
Signs of xylitol poisoning in dogs are vomiting and symptoms related to a sudden drop in blood sugar levels, these include reduced activity, weakness, coordination issues, staggering, fainting, and seizure.
If you believe your dog has eaten something with xylitol, call your vet or local animal hospital right away.
Bones that are cooked lose their structural collagen and nutrients rendering them soft and fragile. When your dog chews on them, they can splinter and leave rugged pieces that, when swallowed, can result in internal bleeding and perforation of the digestive system. Raw bones can also be harmful, damaged teeth, and mouth injuries, obstructions, and constipation.
If you believe your dog has been eating bones, look out for the following symptoms: coughing, and gagging, throwing up, sleepiness, difficulty pooping, extreme thirst, and restlessness. If these signs do not stop after a couple of hours, call your vet.
8. Christmas trees
Despite Christmas trees being a symbol of happiness and a part of many of our most fond memories, they can still become a life-threatening hazard to your dog. Canines can not digest pine needles and they can be slightly poisonous depending on your dog’s size and the number of needles they consume. Fir tree oil can likewise irritate both your dog’s stomach and mouth. The needles themselves can block and even pierce through the digestive tract.
As a way to prevent these hazards, you might pick a Christmas tree with low needle shedding like a Nordmann Fir, or perhaps even consider a synthetic Christmas tree, though, with all the plastic in the world, it might not be too attractive.
You should also know that some Christmas trees are treated with chemical preservatives to keep them fresh for a longer time. These chemicals seep into the water in the tree base, making it toxic. You’ll need to make sure your puppy doesn’t drink of that water, you can do that by including a tree skirt, or covering it with cling wrap, aluminum foil, or a towel.
9. Christmas tree lights
Dogs find all the shiny and strong colourful lights very alluring and intriguing, so do not place them at the bottom of your tree where your dog can get tangled in the wires.
Many lights nowadays are LED and do not heat up as much as the old-style ones. If you are still using some old-fashioned ones they get really hot and might burn your dog, so either replace them or place them further up on the tree. Securely tape cables to the wall or flooring, specifically those going into and out from the tree.
Conceal cables with a tree skirt or pack them in, or find adhesive-back cable clips to keep them off the ground and out of your pet’s reach. Dogs who enjoy chomping on electrical cables and lights can get severe shocks and mouth burns.
Chewing on a wire can also trigger lung edema (fluid in the lungs) that can be deadly. Make it a habit to check the cables regularly and see if there are any signs of chewing – remember it can also cause a fire, so the precaution is doubly valuable.
10. Glass baubles, ornaments and tinsel
Christmas is surely going to be a fun time for your pet, happy tails will be wagging at turbo speed so do not hang your most valued or most fragile Christmas ornaments in the lower branches. Protect them by firmly attaching them to the branches. Try to also choose ornaments that are less likely to shatter or break. No need to get sad during this part of the year, so keep everybody happy by dog-proofing your tree.
Avoiding edible and glass tree decorations is a very good idea if you have pets and children. Your dog might knock the tree over simply to get a hold of them and might end up hurt with a broken one. Ornaments might end up being swallowed and result in GI blockage; some might even be toxic due to the chemicals and products used to make them.
Try not to choose anything edible, specifically chocolate, salt dough ornaments, glass decorations, bells, metal hooks, strings of popcorn and tinsel.
We don’t want you stressed out but just do your best to keep food that is not good for your pet, ornaments, alcohol, and holiday plants out of your dog’s reach. We hope this post will help you enjoy a safe, fun holiday season with your beautiful dog! Happy Holidays!
This article provides a summary view of some aspects you need to know about pets and how to protect them during the holidays. We recommend you take the time to talk in detail with one of our licensed veterinarians. They will provide the best suggestions and strategies for your pet. For an appointment please contact us at 416-362-9696 or click the button below.
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