With Christmas fast approaching it is sometimes easy to overlook little things that have the potential to cause big problems for our pets. This is a reminder to everyone of what we can do to make sure all of our favorite pups stay safe this season.
If you don’t know who Denver the Youtube sensation is yet, you’re missing out on over 60 seconds of smiles. While Denver’s new found stardom is proof that she fared just fine after sneaking those kitty treats, her guilt trip can be used as example that when left to their own devices, dogs will help themselves to just about anything. While to us the trash is just garbage, to a dog, like ahem… Winnie lets say, it is a holy mecca of all things tempting. Think of all those wrappers that contained delicious desserts, tin foil and of course, the scariest of them all, leftover cooked bones. We can’t express enough how dangerous cooked turkey, chicken, ham and even roast bones can be. Lets be clear, we love bones. Most of us at the Digs give our guys bones several times a week. Strong, raw bones have loads of benefits for dogs and we consider them a very important part of their raw diets and can be a great way to keep a dog occupied while the family eats. When a bone is cooked, the composition is completely changed. The brittle bones are more likely to splinter and that can lead to a bevy of problems including blockages.
Sugar Free Treats
Sugar replacements like Xylitol can be very toxic to pets when consumed. Although it is apparently perfectly fine for human consumption, it’s not so sweet for dogs. It can cause severe liver damage, hyperglycemia or worse… kill them.
A Couple of My Favorite Things . . . chocolate and alcohol
Do we really need to go over this? Yes, people come in all the time and talk about how much their dogs love chocolate in small amounts. Chocolate and dogs do not mix. Even a small amount can lead to annoyances like diarrhea or vomiting. The folks over at Washington State University put out a guide of how much chocolate a dog would have to consume to be toxic. Amounts are based on the 44 pound dog.
Unsweetened Cocoa (dark chocolate) . . . 3 oz
Baking Chocolate . . . 5 oz
Semi Sweet Chocolate . . . 7 oz
Milk Chocolate . . . 20 oz
Keep Fido away from the nog. Alcohol depresses the central nervous system, changes blood sugar levels and slows heart rate.
Oh, the dangers lurking with those Christmas trees. No, the needles aren’t going to pose a problem but all the decor could. Let me share a little story about a Hot Diggity gal that shall remain nameless. Said girl doesn’t have a Christmas tree. She doesn’t trust her dogs, knowing full well that they will have their way with one if it were in the house. This particular lovely employee does however, do stockings. In an effort to jazz them up she thought she’d buy a couple of ornaments to attach for extra festiveness. One of the ornaments lasted maybe a total of 5 minutes before one of the dogs, thinking it was a ball, jumped up and grabbed it. Luckily, it didn’t shatter in his mouth and was able to be safely removed before causing any more mayhem.
Keep all candles out of tail-wag reach.
Anyone who has ever had to assist a dog scooting across a lawn knows what can happen when their dog ingests rope, string or long RED hair. Any of those items can cause an intestinal obstruction requiring surgery. During the holidays our trees are decked out with many similar materials such as tinsel, ribbon and garlands which to a dog may read “that looks interesting” instead of “DANGER DANGER DANGER”.
Let me share another little story with you. I remember one particular Christmas my brother Ryan and I were helping our Dad string the lights on the tree. We were merrily decorating away not realizing that little Sean, a fat and happy toddler at the time, was gnawing away the the plugged in lights. Oops. Luckily, he didn’t get burned or electrocuted but I’ll always remember incident as a narrowly escaped disaster. Just like babies, dogs –especially puppies, may think that lights or electrical cords are their very own personal chew toys.
Contrary to popular belief poinsettias aren’t actually toxic to pets. Ingesting may cause some irritation but the real threats are mistletoe and holly. Make sure you keep your Martha Stewart-esque decor out of poochie’s snout reach.
Fruitcakes — of the two legged variety
I doubt that fruitcake is actually dangerous (unless it’s made it xyitol!). The fuitcakes I’m referring to are the less dog savvy family members that come to visit during throughout the season. You know, the kind of people that hold a door open just long enough for your Husky to escape. Or children that think chasing a scared dog throughout the house is t
he best game in the world. Everyone has that one uncle (or brother, or father) who thinks it’s hilarious to watch Sparky knock back a Budweiser. Make sure you set ground rules for how your guests are able to interact with your dog if they will be free roaming. Otherwise, make sure each pet has a safe, calm zone, whether it’s a crate or a room. Don’t forget, sometimes all the commotion can be just as stressful on a pet as it can on the host.
We compiled a list of our favorite things that keep our dogs busy and out of trouble (most of the time). You can check it out here.
Wishing you a very merry season!
Your friends at Hot Diggity