Christmas Dangers For Dogs sq

13 Christmas Dangers For Dogs: How To Keep Them Safe

This Christmas you’ll probably be thinking up all kinds of fun and exciting things to get for your loved ones. The holidays are also an enjoyable time for your pooch, and it’s not unusual to find her getting into mischief as she comes across new items brought into your home. Some of the stuff you eat or leave lying around could be dangerous for your dog, and some of the treats you give your dog are no exception. Did you know that some nuts, for example, can be toxic to your dog?

 We’ve come up with a list of stuff you’ll want to keep away from your dog to keep this special time free of any mishaps.

1. Chocolate

Dogs and Chocolate

Chocolates do wonderful things to your taste buds, unfortunately, this does not apply to your furry friend. Chocolate contains two potentially harmful chemicals: theobromine and caffeine, both of which are hazardous to dogs. Unlike humans, dogs process theobromine very slowly, meaning it can build up to toxic levels in their system. Research shows that 20 mg or more of this toxic ingredient per pound of your dog’s weight can be lethal. Generally, gourmet darker chocolates are more toxic especially cocoa powder. If your dog has eaten too much chocolate, she’s likely to develop symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, frequent urination and tremors, which can last for up to 72 hours. If you notice these signs, it’s best to call your vet immediately.

2. Raisins, Grapes, Currants And Sultanas

Raisins_sultanas

Grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas are the other no-go area for your dog. Interestingly, no one really knows the exact substance that causes toxic reactions in dogs when they consume grapes. What is of concern, as reported by Ahna Brutlag of SafetyCall International and Pet Poison Helpline, is the rising number of cases of dogs affected after consuming grapes and its products.   Experts also believe that the dried forms of these fruits are more toxic than when eaten fresh. Although the toxic dose for grapes hasn’t been established, it is clear that eating excessive amounts can lead to severe consequences such as kidney failure. This Christmas make a point to keep your dog away from cakes, pies, puddings and even cereals that contain raisins and currants, and if you think your pet dog has eaten any grapes or raisins immediately get help from a vet.

3. Macadamia Nuts

macadamia-nuts

Sharing macadamia nuts with your dog might not seem so harmful, but this popular snack can be fatal to your dog. Like grapes and raisins, it's not clear what quantities can cause health complications when ingested. The specific toxin or biological mechanism responsible for poisoning is also still a mystery. There are some reports, though, which indicate that consuming as little as 1/10 of an ounce for every 2 pounds of body weight can lead to the development of symptoms such as leg weakness, lethargy, diarrhea, and vomiting. Some macadamia nuts are coated with chocolate, which poses an even greater health risk to dogs. The bottom line is if you feel tempted to give your dog just a little taste, don’t do it. Like in other cases of poisoning, if you think your dog has ingested macadamia nuts, call your vet immediately for assistance.

4. Unbaked Bread Dough

Unbaked Bread Dough

We all know how dogs have indiscriminate eating habits. Given the chance, many would have no qualms gobbling up a piece of raw dough which can lead to disastrous results. That’s because unbaked bread dough, when ingested, expands in the gut resulting in a bloated stomach. This, in turn, can cause it to rapture causing damage to your dog’s heart and diaphragm. For this reason, it's vital to get a vet’s help immediately if your dog has eaten raw bread dough. It’s reported that even with treatment, almost 25% of dogs with GDV don't make it.

5. Alcohol

If you’re the kind that prefers your eggnog spiked, sharing it with your pet dog may not be such a great idea. Dogs are thought to react negatively to ethanol more than humans especially the smaller breeds which can suffer from life-threatening toxicity from drinking alcohol. Your lively little bud may not only wobble and get drowsy from taking alcohol. He could equally suffer from more serious complications like low blood sugar and body temperature, seizures, and even comas.

6. Bones

dog-with-bone

Treating your dog to some turkey or chicken might not seem like such a bad idea, but if you’re not careful to take out the bones, this could have terrible consequences. Bones, when cooked, tend to get brittle and splinter easily, so don’t be surprised if your pet dog experiences irritation or obstruction in his gut after feeding on chicken or turkey. Smaller bones are the worst as they can pierce the stomach or intestinal wall, forcing your dog to undergo surgery. As you prepare your Christmas meal try not to leave poultry meat unattended on the kitchen counter, and be careful how you dispose of any leftovers to prevent your dog from getting in harm’s way.

7. Onion, Chives, and Garlic

Onion, Chives, and Garlic

We all know how dogs have indiscriminate eating habits. Given the chance, many would have no qualms gobbling up a piece of raw dough which can lead to disastrous results. That’s because unbaked bread dough, when ingested, expands in the gut resulting in a bloated stomach. This, in turn, can cause it to rapture causing damage to your dog’s heart and diaphragm. For this reason, it's vital to get a vet’s help immediately if your dog has eaten raw bread dough. It’s reported that even with treatment, almost 25% of dogs with GDV don't make it.

Plants

We all love to liven up our living space with colorful plant displays during Christmas. However, this could have its own dangers in terms of your pet accidentally munching on an unsuitable plant. If you plan to bring home decorative plants for this holiday season, consider which plants are safe for your pet, and which ones should be kept out of his reach. The following plants should be handled with care:

8. Poinsettia

Poinsettia

Poinsettia plants which are popular during Christmas are known to be mildly toxic to both cats and dogs. Although eating their leaves can cause your dog to experience nausea and vomiting, it would take a pretty large amount to cause poisoning. Nevertheless, you will not want to take chances with this plant, so it would be wise to keep it out of reach.

9. Holly And Mistletoe

Holly and Mistletoe

Holly and mistletoe are another set of popular holiday plants. They have a higher toxicity level than the poinsettia and can cause problems like vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain when ingested. Mistletoe, in particular, can cause a severe drop in blood pressure as well as breathing problems, and even hallucinations. Consuming large amounts of the plant’s leaves or berries can lead to seizures that can be fatal. 

10. The Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree

Christmas just wouldn't be the same without the good ol' Yule tree and wrapped gifts at the foot to spread the cheer around. But beware, this timeless tradition could come with potential hazards to your four-legged friend. Christmas trees produce toxic oils that can poison your dog and have spiny leaves that can obstruct or puncture his gut. While decorating your tree with edible stuff like candy and popcorn be a fun thing to do, this could actually encourage your dog to nibble at the leaves and increase the risk of ingestion and poisoning. Be on the lookout for symptoms like excessive drooling or vomiting that result from such poisoning.

Christmas Presents

Food and plants aside, certain Christmas presents can also pose a threat to your dog. The three listed below especially come to mind:

11. Silica Gel Sachets and Wrapping or Crepe Paper

Silica Gel Sachets and Wrapping or Crepe Paper

We all know how dogs have indiscriminate eating habits. Given the chance, many would have no qualms gobbling up a piece of raw dough which can lead to disastrous results. That’s because unbaked bread dough, when ingested, expands in the gut resulting in a bloated stomach. This, in turn, can cause it to rapture causing damage to your dog’s heart and diaphragm. For this reason, it's vital to get a vet’s help immediately if your dog has eaten raw bread dough. It’s reported that even with treatment, almost 25% of dogs with GDV don't make it.

12. Toys

toys

All the commotion and excitement that surrounds Christmas celebrations could see items like stuffed children's toys or Lego getting swallowed by your pet dog, resulting in potentially dangerous blockage in your dog's gut.

13. Batteries

Batteries

Batteries are another set of items you shouldn’t leave lying around in the festive season. If chewed and swallowed by your dog, batteries it can cause chemical burns, or even lead poisoning in extreme cases. Swallowing them whole can also cause a blockage in their stomachs which may require surgical removal.

What To Do If You Suspect Your Dog's Ingested A Dangerous Item

Certain items like small pieces of paper, or crayon, normally pass through your dog's digestive system without incident, however, it’s the large, sharp or toxic substances you should be concerned about. If your dog shows symptoms of illness like loss of appetite, vomiting, weakness, diarrhea or pain you should consult your local veterinary practice immediately. As much as possible make sure you tell them what your dog has eaten, how much and when they ate it. Do not try to force your dog to throw up as this can sometimes lead to other complications.

That said, it doesn’t mean you should spoil the fun over Christmas by being overly concerned about potential dangers. If you strike the right balance, you should be able to keep your favorite pet out of harm’s way and still have an enjoyable holiday. Happy holidays!

About the Author Andy

When not writing about himself in the third person, Andy spends many an hour walking his mischievous, mixed breed rescue dog Mr Wox, aka Soxy Woxy. A leading authority on dog-related topics, Andy is highly respected, deeply appreciated and widely admired.

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