Christmas Safety for Your Dog

The holiday season is a time of goodwill, for sharing a meal with friends and family and exchanging gifts with those you love. The last thing you want to do is to spend it at the emergency clinic with your dog!  There are several potential issues that can affect your dog over Christmas.


You’ll be enjoying a lot of rich food over Christmas, so your dog can enjoy it too – right? Wrong. Too much rich fatty food such as ham can cause pancreatitis in dogs. Your dog will go off his food, develop a fever and start to vomit. He’ll also have a terrible tummy ache. Pancreatitis needs urgent veterinary attention which can be expensive if you need to visit an after-hours hospital, and it can be fatal.  Stick to your dog’s regular diet with perhaps just a few lean treats from time to time.


Poinsettia, mistletoe and holly are popular plants that add a festive appearance to your home and garden. If your dog has a nibble on any of them, he may develop signs of gastroenteritis, with vomiting and diarrhea.


Those pretty ribbons around the gifts and the sparkling tinsel on the Christmas tree can make your dog very sick indeed. If he should swallow them, they can form what’s known as a linear foreign body.  The ribbon causes the intestines to collapse, and this can cut the wall of the bowel and even interfere with its blood supply. The result is a seriously ill dog that will need surgery to help him to recover.

Glass ornaments on the tree may also fall and break and the shards can cut your dog’s feet. Ideally, keep all ribbons and ornaments away from him and keep him away from the tree with a decorative barrier.


One of the most enjoyable parts of the festive season, in particular, New Year’s Eve, is the fireworks. Your dog may not agree. The sounds, smells and flashing lights of a fireworks display can be terrifying to some dogs, and they may run away in their attempts to escape. If your dog is an outside dog, bring him indoors and lock him away safely until the light show is over. For outdoor dogs, make sure your fencing is secure and just in case he does make a break for freedom, keep the details on his identity tag and microchip up to date.


Christmas is a time for getting together with friends and family. Your house may be noisier than usual and your dog may become anxious at the number of unfamiliar people coming and going. He needs a place of his own where he can escape to when he feels stressed. This may be his crate, or it may be a separate room in your home. Either way, make sure your guests know that when he is in his safe place, he shouldn’t be disturbed.

Don’t let the Christmas festivities play havoc with your dog’s physical and mental well-being. With a little forethought and planning, he too can enjoy a safe and stress-free holiday season.


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