Dog-proofing your Home at Christmas
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, particularly if you have taken a few simple steps towards dog-proofing your home at Christmas. If (like me) you own a dog who may be likely to ‘investigate’ the festive fare, this is for you! One or two thoughtful adaptions can ensure that Christmas is all about having fun and not about poorly dogs or trips to the vet.
Investing a tree that doesn’t drop its needles, or is artificial, will prevent needles getting stuck in paws, ears etc. If eaten, needles are mildly toxic and can also cause problems through internal perforation. Regularly checking and removing dropped needles can easily avoid this. Also make sure that the tree is secure and won’t fall on your dog if they try to play with it.
Tinsel and baubles may also look appetising and fun for dogs, and can be sharp if broken, causing problems if ingested. Keep them away out of reach and supervise your dog with the tree if they are likely to tamper with decorations.
Tree chocolates and gifts under the tree:
Hanging chocolates on the tree is a thing of the past in our household due to persistent whippet interference! Foodie gifts under the tree are also fair-game for sneaky food theft. We put our edible gifts away until we are ready to unwrap them at Christmas. For more information about toxic foods for dogs click here.
For trees with a water pot, the water resting within can contain sap and germs which can make dogs ill. As with all of these tree related issues, careful planning and supervision of your pet near the tree will solve these problems.
The mince pies, the Christmas pudding, the bowls of little chocolates- all of these foods are highly toxic for dogs. Stuffing should also be avoided as it often contains onion. For guzzlers, watch alcohol too! Prevent this through careful storage of such foods and supervision. Refer to the toxic food list for guidance on this.
If an accident does occur, the dog needs to get to the vet as soon as possible.
Poinsettia, ivy, mistletoe, holly- all beautiful Christmas plants but sadly all harmful to dogs. Ingestion may cause an upset stomach and skin irritation. The prickly nature of holly also carries danger of internal perforation. Solve this one by keeping them out of reach from long noses!
Christmas is a fun, sociable time, but for nervous dogs the changes in routines can be distressing. Make sure that your dog has a ‘safe space’ to go to if they need peace and solitude. This can also be useful if you have. Their usual bed, crate or room can be the ideal solution to this.
House guests can also bring their challenges. Make sure that your house guests understand suitable treats your dog can be given, and if your dog is a runner (like ours) not to leave doors open.
Dog-proofing your home at Christmas:
With thought and supervision, you can be relaxed and enjoy the festive period knowing that your pets are safe to enjoy it with you.
Merry Christmas everyone!