With Christmas less than a week away I thought I would share some safety tips for that special Woofer in your life.
GUARD AGAINST OVERWHELM - the influx of strange people, children and maybe other pets to your home over the festive season, with all the pats, attention and chasing can result in overwhelm for your Fur Baby and can lead to anxiety or aggression - however uncharacteristic this may be for your dog. So make sure that you are understanding and empathetic and carefully monitor their interactions to ensure that they are comfortable with the level of contact (that’s where the next point comes in.)
A SAFE PLACE - the hustle and bustle that comes with Christmas and celebrating can be overwhelming for some woofers, so make sure they have an isolated, quite place they can take themselves off to if they need to.
LOCKED INSIDE - visitors arriving and leaving, especially with vehicles can pose a threat if your Fur Baby has no road sense and is a potential escapee. Not only could they get loose and possibly lost, but there is also the risk of them being run over. So make sure that your dog is secured inside before opening the door for guests entering or leaving.
CLEAN UP THE AFTERMATH QUICKLY - wrapping paper, sticky tape, gifts and uneaten food scraps can all be dangerous for your Fur Baby, especially if they are anything like our Whisky (Frenchie) who can’t resist stealing things that are different from his own toys! So clean things up, store things away and make sure they are all well out of reach or secure from that sniffing nose or prying paws!
CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS - I had a Springer Spaniel named Hamish years ago who became known at the vet as “The Christmas Ornament Dog”. He stole a red satin ball off the Christmas Tree and the dye from it made him fit. Luckily we got him to the vet in time and after a large bill he safely returned home. But the lesson that inquisitive dogs like to play and chew on decorations was well learned. So make sure any Christmas decorations and lights are out of reach or in secured areas that your dog can’t get them.
NO HUMAN FOOD SHARING - no matter how cute they look or you think “just a little bit won’t hurt”, the safest thing for your dog is NOT to share any human food or drinks with them. There are way too many foods that are dangerous for them so the simple rule for everyone (guests and children) visiting your home over the festive season is NOT TO SHARE ANYTHING with your Fur Baby.
Never share these Christmas foods with your dog:
Ham – can be fatal! It’s very high in both fat and salt. It can cause stomach upsets (vomiting & diarrhoea), frequent urination, excessive thirst, and pancreatitis.
Turkey or chicken skin – Both are high in fat and can cause stomach upsets (vomiting & diarrhoea) and pancreatitis - which can be fatal.
Bones – cooked bones are brittle and can splinter resulting in damage to the digestive tract such as irritation, perforations or obstructions.
Raisins, grapes, sultanas, currants – Another expensive vet bill for me for Jock and Skye (my Black Solid English Cockers) years ago when they ate some left over bread and butter pudding with sultanas in it. Even small amounts can be highly toxic, causing stomach upsets (vomiting & diarrhoea) and even acute renal (kidney) failure.
Christmas pudding, fruit cake, mince pies - these are serious problems as they combine so many things that are dangerous for your dog - all are high in fat, contain contain dried fruits (as mentioned above), some also have alcohol .
Chocolate – theobromine and caffeine are both toxic for your Woofer. They cause stomach upsets (vomiting & diarrhoea), muscle twitching, fits, heart problems and even death.
Macadamia nuts – are both a choking hazard as well as being poisonous for dogs causing lethargy, muscle tremors, hyperthermic and their hind legs to be weak and wobbly.
Stuffing – often contains onion and garlic both or which are toxic and damage the red blood cells. Symptoms include lethargy, weakness, pale gums, anaemia and excessive panting.
Lollies – these often contain xylitol which can cause lethargy, vomiting, hypoglycemia, liver damage and even death.
Alcohol – the ethanol in alcohol affects dogs much more than us. They will get “drunk” - wobbly, lethagic, hypothermia, fits and even death.
Whilst you wouldn’t put your Woofer in danger by knowingly giving theme these foods, some well-meaning guest may have, or they may have raided your bins. So if you see any signs that your dog is unwell or behaving strongly think about the possibility they have ingested something dangerous and contact your vet (or emergency vet) immediately for advice or treatment.
If you simply can’t resist those puppy dog eyes and feel you must share human food with your dog please remember that they are a lot smaller than us and require much less food. So just one snag from the BBQ is a lot bigger meal for them than it is for us so only share very small amounts of “safe” food only.
Hoping you have an amazing and safe Merry Christmas.