3 Tips to Keep Your Pooch Safe This Christmas

by Dr. Margit Gabriele Muller

your-pet-your-pill-book-cover-max-high-res-cvr4-1The festive season with sparkling Christmas trees and delicious food pose temptations for your pooch and are full of potential hazards. Many Christmas festivities take a bad turn when the party ends in a vet emergency. Here are my top 3 tips for enjoying a happy, safe and dog-proofed festive season.

  1. The Christmas tree and decorations

Danger Zone:

  • Dogs who eat natural pine tree needles, and even artificial ones, suffer from vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea.
  • Glass baubles can break into shards easily and perforate dogs’ stomachs and intestines with disastrous outcomes.
  • Dogs love sparkling tinsel and ribbons as they mistake them for toys, but they can result in obstructions in the intestines with severe consequences.
  • Chewed fairy lights pose the ultimate danger for dogs as they can cause electric shocks, burns and even electrocution.
  • Salt dough ornaments if eaten can lead to salt toxicosis with vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures with potentially fatal outcomes.
  • Real candles can cause our curious dogs to burn their noses, paws or fur or, even set the house on fire if they knock them over.
  • Eating vast amounts of wrapping paper results in stomach obstruction.

Safety Tip:

  • Never leave your dog alone with your Christmas tree!
  • Vacuum pine needles daily
  • Replace tinsel and ribbons with dog-friendly options and use unbreakable baubles.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended and always keep a check on your dog when candles are lit.
  • A great option to keep your furry friend safe is a dog-proofed fence around your Christmas tree
  1. Christmas food

Danger Zone:

Christmas time is food time!

  • Your delicious Christmas turkey is the ultimate treat for you but a major hazard for your pooch. All cooked bones are very brittle and can splinter easily into small pieces penetrating the dog’s esophagus, stomach and intestines and can be a life-threatening emergency.
  • Our favorite treat- chocolate is the ultimate no-no for dogs as it contains the substance theobromine that is poisonous for them and can be fatal.
  • Raisins, sultanas, grapes, and currents in many Christmas treats are toxic for dogs.
  • Nuts, especially Macadamia nuts, can lead to vomiting, weakness, and tremors.
  • Allium species like onions, shallots, garlic are also toxic and can result in severe blood disorders.
  • Dogs are also sensitive to blue cheese with its substance roquefortine C.
  • Sugar and artificial sweeteners like xylitol in Christmas cookies, cakes, candies, and other food can lead to hypoglycemia, liver failure, blood clotting and seizures in dogs.
  • Alcohol is a very potent toxin for dogs that can induce vomiting, diarrhea, breathing difficulties, tremors and even coma with a possible fatal outcome.

Safety Tip:

  • These foods should not be fed to dogs at all, not even as the smallest amounts!
  • Always keep them safe out of reach and dispose of them properly.
  • Never put chocolate treats on or under your Christmas tree.
  • All spilled alcohol should be cleaned up immediately before your dog licks it.
  • Spoil your dog with his own special festive dog treats!
  1. Plants

Danger Zone:

  • Poinsettia, mistletoe, holly and ivy are all mildly to moderately toxic for dogs as are potpourri products and liquid essential oils. They result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and can even cause serious stomach and intestinal problems.

Safety Tip:

  • Keep all plants, potpourri products and liquid essential oils out of your dog’s reach.

Keep these tips in mind and enjoy an incident-free Merry Christmas with your furry friend!


18Article by Dr Margit Gabriele Muller, author of Your Pet, Your Pill: 101 Inspirational Stories About How Pets Lead You to A Happy, Healthy and Successful Life out now, available on Amazon.