Christmas Safety Hazards



Alcoholic beverages. Drunken dogs are very sick dogs. An ounce of a beverage that is 20 to 40 proof can cause alcohol poisoning or coma in a small dog, such as a Yorkshire Terrier.

Angel hair. This is made from spun glass, it can irritate the skin, cause cuts and damage the eyes. It is eaten and can cause intestinal blockage.

Artificial Snow, flocking. These are possibly poisonous, can cause digestive upset or be a respiratory irritant if inhaled. Spray only the upper corners of high windows.

Candles. Flame or dripping wax can burn dogs and cats or singe their whiskers or hair. Also, they are a fire hazard if the pet knocks them over. Save candles for the dining room table, and don't burn them near an unattended pet.

Electric cable. Dogs and cats can be shocked, burned or electrocuted by chewing on cable. It is safer to run cables through PVC piping, cover with rugs or secure to the floor by placing behind or beneath heavy furniture.

Decorations. Glue, rubber bands, staples, string, tacks and tape can cause mild pain, serious complications or death if swallowed. Store them in a secure place. Discard used items when decorations are removed.

Fire/ fireplaces, including ashes, popping wood. These can cause bronchial irritation, burns skin irritation and digestive distress. keep a fire screen in front of a fireplace while in use.

Food. Bones can cause choking, internal punctures, possibly death. Chocolate can cause theobromine poisoning which is an overstimulation of the nervous system, and may be fatal. Chocolate also causes vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, hyperactivity and seizures. Fatty spice or sweet foods lead to gastric upset, dehydration and pancreatitis. Burns and mouth or throat ulcerations can result from hot food. Do not share your holiday goodies with your pets. If you can resist give a healthy treat. Keep your dog out of the dinning area and feed it its regular dinner while you eat. Do not leave cooking food unattended or set hot dishes near edge of stove or counter. Do not leave sweets or other snacks where your dog can reach them.

Guests. They add to the noise, confusion and stress for your pet who will be put out of its routine. Pets can be stepped on, or unsupervised children can injure them. Pets can escape when visitors come and go. Guests are more likely to feed your pets and 'just a little bite' adds up to quite a lot of food. Always advise your guests not to feed your pets. If your guests are uncomfortable around your dogs and cats, or if extra activity causes your pet anxiety, board it for the holidays. Your cat and dog should sleep in a regular spot, if it is where it will be distressed, move the pet to a quiet place where it will be comfortable.

Decorative lights. Cats and dogs can become tangled in the strands, leading to burns and cuts. They can creat the same hazards as electric cables.

Costumes and dressing up. Never dress up cats and dogs they can cause choking and strangulation.

Plants, holly, ivy, mistletoe and poinsettia. These plants range from mildly upsetting to extremely toxic. If eaten they can cause gastrointestinal irritation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, coma, central nervous system or cardiac problems or even death.

Gift wrapping. Ribbon, trim polystyrene foam packaging, wrapping foil and paper are dangerous if eaten by your pet. Always wrap packages in an area away from your pet. Collect and discard all the waste. Any wrapping paper and supplies you are not using, put away. If you have any gifts for your dog, use plain brown paper, wrap loosely and supervise unwrapping.

Live trees. Place the tree in a room away from the cat or dog. To stop the tree from falling over, place a hook in the ceiling and use some nylon yarn. Tie the top of the tree with the nylon and then secure this to the ceiling. By using this system the tree cannot fall over.

Routine. So often this is forgotten during the busy holidays, but keeping to your dog walking schedule will help keep your pets world consistent. Many of our pets will have a difficult time adjusting to the increased activity and many will suffer stress.

Your vet. Make certain you have the full details of how to contact your vet or the acting emergency vet during the holidays. A little foresight might help your pet survive a holiday accident.

David the Dogman

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