Keeping Fido Safe During the Holidays     
by Dawn Arkin

The holidays are a time of family, friends and fun. Regardless of your beliefs, the holidays are a special time of the year. But parties, family get-together, and unexpected guests can bring both fun and stress. Not only for your family, but for your four legged friends as well.

With the excitement of seeing old friends and planning activities, it's easy to lose track of the dangers lurking in holiday decorations and foods for your furry friends.


The holidays are a time for food. But remember some foods are dangerous for your pets. Turkey and chicken bones can splinter when chewed, getting logged in the animal's throat or stomach linings.

Suggestion: Don’t let your dog have scraps from the table. Be sure foods are kept out of reach of your pet or supervised.

Chocolate contains alkaloid theobromine which can poison a dog's system. Too much chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, hyperactivity, and seizures in your beloved pet.

Suggestion: Keep candies on high shelves or counters to keep them out of reach of your pets.

Garbage cans also contain dangerous items that have food residual on them, making the trash more of a temptation to your pet. Aluminum foil, paper plates, cups, plastic utensils, and plastic wraps are some of the things that can be hazardous to your pets.

Suggestion: Use a sturdy trashcan with a lid that can be fastened shut and make sure it's closed after every use. Empty it often so it doesn't overflow.

Christmas Trees

Live trees are festive and beautiful when decorated and lit with lights. But remember most Christmas trees sold can be hazardous. The sap is mildly toxic, causing mouth and stomach irritation. The needles can puncture intestines because they cannot be digested.

Suggestion: Place the tree into a room that can be closed off from your dogs, or place a protective fence around it. Use a sturdy tree stand, one that is designed to keep the tree upright.

Most tinsel is made out of Mylar or other plastic products and can cause intestinal obstruction, internal cuts and abrasions if eaten. Ornaments are made of glass, thin plastic and usually have wire hangers, all of which is very dangerous for your furry friend should he try to eat one, or knock the tree down and break the ornaments.

Suggestion: Use delicate ornaments on the upper branches of the tree, and sturdier, plastic ones on the bottom branches. Instead of wire hangers try using ribbons to hang the ornaments on the tree.

Lighting can entangle a dog, making a tree falling disaster a reality. Dogs can get tangled up in the lights, pulling the tree down on top of them.

Suggestion: Run strings from the inside of the tree to the outside, making sure the connecting cord is underneath a tree skirt and runs behind furniture.

Presents under the tree are also very hazardous. Ribbon, wrapping paper, and even the gift inside, can cause problems for your dog, should he chew the present open. Dogs sometimes don't realize what they are chewing on isn't edible until they've swallowed some of it.

Suggestion: When wrapping presents, keep your dogs out of the room and be sure to throw all trash away immediately. Use a fence around the tree to keep the dogs away from presents.

Flocking and artificial snow can cause digestive problems if swallowed and respiratory problems if inhaled. Since it's a new scent to your dog, you're almost guaranteed Fido will be curious and sniffing the tree.

Suggestion: If you have dogs, don't get a flocked tree. If you want to use artificial snow, only spray it on the upper parts of windows or just on the outside.

Home Decorations

Candles are beautiful and festive, but pose a threat to dogs. Curiosities can get the better of them, resulting in burns as well as possible fire hazards if they knock the candle over.

Suggestion: Use lit candles only in places your dog doesn't go, or up high enough so your dog can't reach them. And never leave a lit candle unattended!

Potpourri smells wonderful and helps to keep your home fresh during the busy holidays. Most potpourris are made with toxic berries and plant parts, which can cause skin rashes if your dog gets it on his skin or stomach problems if he eats any of it.

Suggestion: Use in rooms your dog doesn't go into, or keep out of reach on a high shelf.

Poinsettias, mistletoe and Christmas cactus are all beautiful live decorations to enhance your home's appearance. But a lot of holiday plants are toxic when eaten, causing illness and possibly death to pets.

Suggestion: Try spraying the plants with a dog repellant like Bitter Apple. Be sure to discard the dead leaves and berries immediately.

The holidays should be a time of fun and happiness, not spent in the vet emergency room. By taking some time to make your home safe, you can guarantee having a wonderful holiday.

About the Author
Dawn Arkin is a writer and animal lover who enjoys spending time with her pets. This article has been submitted in affiliation with http://www.PetLovers.Com/ which is a site for Pet Forums.
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